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Knight Service in Ireland — by Jocelyn Otway-Ruthven ... ... ... 1 

Prehistoric Burial at Rath, Co. Wicklow — by Ellen Prendergast ... ... 17 

Bronze Age Pottery from Ballon Hill in the British Museum — by Breandan 

6 Riordain ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 31 

Kinaleghin: A Forgotten Irish Charterhouse of the Thirteenth Century — by 

Dom Andrew Gray ... ... ... ... ... ... 35 

The Friends’ Provincial School, Mountmellick — by Michael Quane ... 59 

Sprat or White-Fish Weirs in Waterford Harbour — by Arthur E. J. Went ... 91 

The Sources of Moore’s Melodies — by Veronica ni Chinneide ... ... 109 

James Cotter, a Seventeenth-Century Agent of the Crown — by Brian 6 Cm'v ... 135 

Rock-Basins, or ‘ Bullauns ’, at Glendalough and elsewhere — by Liam Price ... 161 

The Decipherment of the Mycenaean Script — A Notice — by Donald M. Nicol 189 


The Megalith at Clogherny, Tyrone {O. Davies) ... ... ... 95 

Sculptured Cross-base at Oldcourt, near Bray, Co. Wicklow (L. Price) ... 97 

Rathealy Fort, Co. Kilkenny (Editor) ... ... ... ... 97 

Some Unpublished Antiquities of the Early Christian Period in Dublin 

Area (P. 6 hEailidhe) ... ... ... ... ■■■ 205 


Irish Churches & Monastic Buildings: II: Gothic Architecture to A.D. 

1400— by H. G. Leask ... ... ... ... ... 98 

Early Christian Ireland — by M. & L. de Paor ... ... ... 100 

Scotland before History — by Stuart Piggott ... ... ... 101 

The Strafford Inquisition of County Mayo — ed. William O’Sullivan ... 101 

Sources of Irish Local History: 1st Series — by Thomas P. O’Neill ... 102 

The High Crosses of Western Ossory — by Helen M. Roe ... ... 103 

Wessex — by J. F. S. Stone ... ... ... ... ... 103 

Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper — by Donal 

O’Sullivan ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 208 

The Celts — by T. G. E. Powell ... ... ... ... ... 210 

The Ancient and Historic Monuments of the Isle of Man ... ... 210 

A Guide to Cregneash; the Manx Open-Air Folk Museum ... ... 211 

Handbook on the Traditional Old Irish Dress — by H. F. McClintock ... 211 

Analecta Hibernica, No. 20. Survey of Documents in Private Keeping, 

2nd Ser. — by John F. Ainsworth and Edward MacLysaght ... 212 

Reviews of Journals ... ... ... ... ... 105, 213 

Proceedings ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 108 

Report of Council for 1958 ... ... ... ... ... ... 217 

Statement of Accounts for 1958 ... ... ... ... ... 222 





Ballon Hill: Food Vessels: Nos. 1 
& 2 ... ... ... 32 

Vessel No. 3 ... ... 33 

Charter of Kinaleghin Priory ... 48 

Endorsement on Kinaleghin Charter 49 

The Friends’ Provincial School, 
Mountmellick ... ... 84 

Quaker Schoolchildren, c. 1810 ... 85 

Views of sprat weirs in neighbour- 
hood of Checkpoint, Co. Water- 
ford ... ... ... 92 

Sculptured Cross-base at Oldcourt, 
near Bray, Co. Wicklow ... 93 

Copy, in Moore’s handwriting, of 
‘The Fortune-teller’ ... ... 109 



Rock-basins or ‘ bullauns ’ : 

Co. Wicklow: Glendalough ... 172 

Co. Wicklow: Glendalough ... 173 

Co. Wicklow: Glendalough and 
Killafeen ... ... ... 180 

Co. Wicklow: near Reefert 
Church ... ... ... 181 

Co. Wicklow: Drumray ... 181 

Co. Wicklow: Derrylossary ... 181 

Co. Wicklow: Crehelp ... 181 

Glassamucky, Co. Dublin ... 181 

Kilmalkedar, Co. Kerry ... 180 

Tobermacduach, Co. Galway ... 180 

Doughnambraher, Co. Clare ... 180 

Pounding in a mortar, from a 
Greek Vase ... ... 180 

Mortars from Holy Island, 
Anglesea ... ... ... 181 

Basin-stone, Housesteads ... 181 

Column capital used as a mortar, 
Segontium ... ... 181 

A Linear B tablet from Knossos ... 189 



Grave at Rath, Co. Wicklow ... 18 

Pottery Vessels from Grave at Rath 20 

Sketch map showing the situation 
of serviceable sprat weirs in 
Waterford Harbour in 1949 ... 92 

Rathealy Fort, Co. Kilkenny, plan 
and section ... ... ... 96 

Bullaun Stones at Glendalough, 

Co. Wicklow : 

Map ... ... ... 162 

Aghowle, Co. Wicklow ... 166 


Fonts at Rosahane, Inchinappa 

and Ballymaghroe ... 175 

Transcription of a line of a Linear 
B tablet from Knossos ... 199 

Antiquities of the Early Christian 
Period : 

Saggart Finial ... ... 206 

Rathmichael Cross Fragment 206 

Carrickmines Socket Stone ... 206 

Kill of the Grange, Cross- 
inscribed Stone ... ... 206 

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Vol. LXXXIX, Part I 



Knight Service in Ireland— by Jocelyn Otway-Ruthven ... 1 

Prehistoric Burial at Rath, Co. Wicklow — by Ellen Prendergast 17 

Bronze Age Pottery from Ballon Hill in the British 

Museum— by Breandan 6 Riordain ... ... ... 31 

Kinaleghin : A Forgotten Irish Charterhouse of the 

Thirteenth Century— by Dom Andrew Gray ... ... 35 

The Friends’ Provincial School, Mountmellick — by Michael 

Quane ... ... ... ... ... ... 59 

Sprat or White-Fish Weirs in Waterford Harbour — by Arthur 

E. J. Went 91 

Miscellanea : 

The Megalith at Clogherny, Tyrone (O. Davies) ... ... 95 

Sculptured Cross-base at Oldcourt, near Bray, Co. Wicklow 

(L. Price) 97 

Rathealy Fort, Co. Kilkenny (Editor) ... ... ... 97 

Book Reviews : 

Irish Churches & Monastic Buildings: 11: Gothic Architecture 

to A. D. 1400, by H. G. Leask 98 

Early Christian Ireland, by M. & L. de Paor ... ... 100 

Scotland Before History, by Stuart Piggott ... ... 101 

The Strafford Inquisition of County Mayo, ed. William 

O’Sullivan ... ... ... ... ... 101 

Sources of Irish Local History: 1st Series, by Thomas 

P. O’Neill 102 

The High Crosses of Western Ossory, by Helen M. Roe ... 103 

Wessex, by J. F. S. Stone ... ... ... ... 103 

Reviews of Journals ... ... ... ... ... 105 

Proceedings ... ... ... ... ... ... 108 

The Journal is published half-yearly. 

The Annual Subscription for Members of the Society is £2, for 
Fellows £3, payable to the Hon. Treasurer, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin. 
Members receive the Journal free, Fellows receive in addition Special 
Volumes on publication. Single copies of the Journal may be purchased 
from the Society, from Hodges Figgis and Co., Dublin, or any bookseller. 
Books for review, papers, notes, and all matter relating to the Journal 
should be submitted to the Hon. Editor, 63 Merrion Square. All MSS. 
for publication should be typed. 




By Jocelyn Otway-Ruthven, Member 

HTHE system of military feudalism imposed by the Normans on their 
conquests in Ireland inevitably followed the general pattern with which 
they had been familiar in England. 1 But though the circumstances of the 
first generation of conquerors in Ireland were in many respects similar 
to those of their ancestors in England a hundred years earlier, the whole 
structure of society was already in rapid change by the time the conquest 
of Ireland began, while, though Henry II intervened in Ireland at an early 
stage of the conquest, it was not initiated and carried out by the king in the 
way that the conquest of England had been organized by the duke of 
Normandy in 1066. There were, therefore, certain modifications. In the 
first place, nearly half of the military service owed to the crown in Ireland 
was due from four great tenants — 100 knights for Leinster, 50 from 
Meath, and 60 from the two grantees of Cork. 2 This represented a far 
greater concentration of power in the hands of individual subjects, holding 
compact blocks of land, than the Conqueror had allowed to occur in 
England. In the second place, whereas in England the Conqueror had 
imposed tenure by military service on all bishoprics and important abbeys 
(and his son had found reason to complain that their contingents were 

!For the structure of English feudalism at the time the conquest of Ireland began, 
see F. M. Stenton, The First Century of English Feudalism (Oxford, 1932). 

2 The total number of knights owed to the crown in Ireland was about 425 (see 
below, p. 5). By the middle of the thirteenth century Leinster had of course been 
divided among a large number of Marshal heirs, and Meath between de Genville 
and de Verdun (see G. Orpen, Ireland under the Normans (4 vols., Oxford, 1911-20), 
III, pp. 79-107. 260-1). For Henry H’s grant of Cork to Robert fitz Stephen and 
Miles de Cogan and its descent, see ibid., II, chapter 13 passim. 



unsatisfactory), in Norman Ireland the lands of the church were held in 
frankalmoign, or sometimes in fee farm, with certain quite unimportant 
exceptions. 3 An enormous amount of land was thus at once removed from 
the scope of the system of military feudalism. Moreover, grants in fee farm 
— hereditary tenures liable not to military service but to a fixed rent — seem 
to have been more commonly used than in England, though for sub- 
tenants rather than for tenants in chief, while military sub-tenants quite 
commonly owed a fee farm rent in addition to military service or 
scutage. 4 Tenure by serjeanty 5 seems, on the other hand, to have been less 
used than in England, probably because it was already obsolescent in 
the late twelfth century. One curious serjeanty was created (or perhaps 
only continued) as late as 1207 by the grant to Richard le Latimer of 

3 Among the chief exceptions were the grant of Coillacht to the see of Dublin, 
to be held by the service of one knight (Crede Mihi, ed. J. T. Gilbert (Dublin, 
1897), p. 33; Sweetman, C[alendar of] Documents relating to] l[reland], I, no. 849; 
IV, no. 104) and 2/3 of a service owed by the archbishop of Armagh for lands in 
co. Louth (38/7; Rep[ort of the] D[eputy] K[eeper of the Public Records of Ireland], 
p. 72). Though the grant of Coillacht speaks simply of the service of one knight, it 
was among the fees for which it was later claimed that service should be done in 
person at the gate of the castle of Dublin (see below, pp. 7-9). Grants of sub-tenancies 
to the church might also involve it in obligations of military service (Calendar of 
Deeds in the Pembroke Estate Office (Dublin, 1891), no. 4; Crede Mihi, pp. 50-51). 
It should be observed that ecclesiastics sometimes had military tenants themselves 
(The Red Book of Ormond, ed. N. B. White (Irish MSS. Commission, 1932), pp. 
86-7; Rotulus Pipae Clonensis, ed. R. Caulfield (Cork, 1859), passim ). That they 
held in frankalmoign did not of itself exempt ecclesiastics from the general obligation 
of all free landholders to share in the burden of local defence, though some of the 
abbeys intermittently established such an exemption (Calendar of] Close Rolls, 
1339-41, p. 244; Chart[ulary of] St. Mary’s [Abbey, Dublin], ed. J. T. Gilbert (2 
vols., Rolls Series, 1884), I, pp. 302-3; Cal[endarium] Rot[ulorum] Pat[entium] et 
Claus[orum Hiberniae], ed. E. Tresham (Record Commissioners, 1828), pp. 45, 89, 
92, 105). 

4 See below, p. 6. Serjeanty tenures required homage and gave the lord reliefs 
and the rights of wardship, marriage and escheat as in the case of military tenures, 
with which they may be classed for many purposes. The position of the fee-farm 
tenures varied : the chief lords in Ireland claimed the same rights of wardship and 
marriage as if they had been military tenures, particularly if they required homage, 
but also apparently when they did not. In 1285 the English court coram rege, 
citing a case before the itinerant justices at Cashel in 1267, ruled that because the 
law ought to be one and the same in England and Ireland (see below, p. 15), and 
in England the chief lords have no rights in the custodies of tenements held of them, 
by reason of homage, unless the tenants are bound to render some military service, 
such wardships belonged not to the lord, but to the next heirs (C.D.I., III, no. 58). 
The claim, however, continued to be made, and in 1331 the order of 1285 was 
repeated (P[ublic] Rfecord] 0[ffice], London, Ancient Petition no. 13051; Cal. 
Close Rolls, 1330-33. pp. 203-4). It seems, however, that by the fifteenth century 
such tenancies had been assimilated to military tenancies as far as wardship, 
marriage and reliefs were concerned, the local custom having prevailed over English 
law (H. J. Lawlor, ‘A Calendar of the Liber Niger and Liber Albus of Christ Church, 
Dublin’. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. XXVII, section C, no. 1, 
pp. 30-31). In the fourteenth century extent of the lands of the bishop of Cloyne 
wardship is specified for many fee-farm tenures (Rotulus Pipae Clonensis, passim). 

5 Tenure by the performance of public services, often of a non-military or only 
quasi-military character. See E. G. Kimball, Serjeanty Tenures in Medieval England 
(New Haven and London, 1936), and A. L. Poole, Obligations of Society in the XII 
and XIII Centuries (Oxford, 1946), chapter IV. 



lands as held by his father to hold of the king by the service of inter- 
preting (latinieriae faciendae) in Co. Dublin,*’ but the chief example of 
this tenure that we know of in Ireland is the existence in almost every 
county of a chief serjeant— the sheriff’s principal assistant — who held the 
office and the land attached to it in fee and inheritance either from the 
king or the lord of the liberty . 7 

We are concerned, however, with the strictly military tenures, and these 
were constituted much on the English pattern. As we have seen , 8 nearly 
half the service owed to the crown was concentrated in large blocks in 
Leinster, Meath and Cork, and here the royal officials dealt directly either 
with the lord of a liberty, or with a relatively small number of parceners. 
Dublin , 9 on the other hand, apart from the very extensive lands of the 
church in this county — well over half the total area — and the royal 
demesne lands in Newcastle Lyons, Esker, Saggart, Crumlin and New- 
castle, Co. Wicklow, was divided among some thirty-seven small tenants 
in chief, most of them holding by the service of half a knight, or less. 
Other counties varied between these two extremes. It should be observed 
that the holding of a fractional fee did not mean that personal service was 
impossible : Westpalstown. co. Dublin, owed the service of one foot 
serjeant, which was equated with the service of | knight when 
a scutage was taken . 10 More awkward fractions might arise by division 
among heiresses, or might be deliberately created after the idea of per- 
sonal service had been abandoned. There does not seem to be any trace 
in Ireland of small military tenants combining to furnish a knight, 
though it is not impossible that this occurred, as it certainly 
did in England. There must, in any case, have been customary rules in 
Leinster, Meath, and all the greater holdings as to which of the sub- 
tenants should serve on any particular occasion when personal service was 
demanded, but no trace of what these rules may have been has survived . 11 

The original purpose of these tenures had, of course, been to put an 

6 C.D.I., I, no. 342. 

7 In Dublin the othce (sometimes called the serjeanty of Leinster) was held with 
the ploughland of Mallahow by Henry Tyrel, to whom it was granted by John when 
count of Mortain, and later by the family of Crus (Calendar of] Pat[ent] Rolls, 
1334-8, pp. 415-6). In Meath it was held by the family of Bacun, to whom it must 
have been granted by the de Lacys, and who in the second half of the thirteenth 
century and later exercised it in both the liberty of Trim and the royal county of 
Meath. For these chief serjeants in general, see J. Otway-Ruthven, ‘Anglo-Irish 
Shire Government in the Thirteenth Century’, in I[rish] Historical] S[tudies], V. 

pp. 21-26. 

8 Above, p. 1. 

9 Till 1606 the northern part of the modern co. Wicklow was included in co. 
Dublin, but a great part of this area was church land. 

10 British Museum MSS. Royal 18 C XIV, f. 159, and Titus B XI, vol. II, f. 246 d. 
Other Dublin holdings were in the same position. In the manor of Thurles, co. 
Tipperary, each fee is said to answer for 5 armed men and one barded horse, but 
this was probably an assessment for purposes of local defence (Red Book of 
Ormond, pp. 71-3). 

11 Cf. Poole, Obligations of Society in the XII and XIII Centuries, pp. 40, 45-6. 



army in the field whenever the crown required it. 12 But already by the 
time of the Norman conquest of Ireland the feudal host was ceasing to 
be a satisfactory form of military organization, and scutage, the money 
commutation for personal service with the host, had appeared in England 
as early as 1100, to be finally fixed in the thirteenth century at 40s. for 
each knight’s fee. It was entirely within the king’s discretion whether 
money or service was taken on any particular occasion, or from a par- 
ticular tenant, and he had a theoretical right to levy it as often as he 
chose, provided that an army was actually put in the field, though the 
term of service had been limited by custom to forty days in any one year, 
and too frequent a levy would be greatly resented. Conditions in Ireland 
meant, however, that the occasion for a levy arose more frequently than in 
England. 13 It was disputed in England whether personal service was due 
overseas; in Ireland the point seems never to have arisen, though in at 
least one case overseas service seems to have been performed in 1254. 14 

In Ireland instances of actual personal service with the army occur 
throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Sometimes individuals 
serve, 15 occasionally a seneschal brings the forces of a liberty to serve under 
the king’s banner. 16 When in 1228 the justiciar led an expedition to Con- 
naught, Nicholas de Verdun was directed by him to remain to guard the 
marches, and so rendered his service to the king: he successfully claimed 
exemption from scutage. 17 As late as 1355 tenants by knight service seem 
to have come in person to Newcastle McKynegan (Newcastle, co. 
Wicklow) to do their service there. 18 But in general military service in 
Ireland, particularly for the smaller tenants, seems to have been on a 
basis of scutage, if not quite from the first at any rate very early: as 
early as 1222 those holding of the king in Munster (i.e. the later counties 
of Tipperary and Limerick), Des (Waterford), Desmond and the vale of 

13 The intervention of Henry II ensured that this should be so in Ireland as in 
England : in the marches of Wales, from which so many of the conquerors of 
Ireland were drawn, and which had been conquered at the beginning of the twelfth 
century by the independent enterprise of their ancestors, uncontrolled by the crown, 
feudal organization was directed towards the military needs of each separate lord- 
ship, and could not be used by the crown in this way. 

13 Cf. C.D.I., II, no. 1801. 

14 In 38 Henry III Hugh Tyrel fecit servicium suum in exercitu domini Henrici 
regis ad guerram suam Vasco nie sustinendum. (P.R.O. London, 047/10/15, no. 5). 

15 Pipe Roll 14 John, ed. D. B. Quinn, Sapp. Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 1941, 
p. 52; 35th Rep. D.K., p. 38; 36th Rep. D.K., p. 73; 38th Rep. D.K., p. 60; 44th 
Rep. D.K., p. 21. 

1 6 C.D./., I, no. 1581; 43rd Rep. D.K., p. 46. 

17 C.D.I., I, no. 1581. The de Verduns had been granted Dundalk to hold by the 
service of 20 knights, increased at some date before 1238 to the service of 22i 
(P.R.O. London, C47/10/15, no. 3). In 1290 Geoffrey de Genville was directed 
by the justiciar and council to pay a third of the sum he owed for a scutage to 
Peter de Genville for the defence of the marches of Delven (P.R.O., London, 
C47/10/17, no. 5; Calendar of] Justiciary] Rolls [Ireland], 1305-7, ed. J. Mills 
(Dublin, 1914), pp. 72, 73, 74, 83). Cf. 37th Rep. D.K., p. 55; Cal. Justic. Rolls, 
1305-7, p. 242. 

18 Cal. Rot. Pat. et Claus., pp. 57, 62. 



Dublin were ordered that when the justiciar went with an armed force 
into Ulster and Keneleon, or other remote parts, to fortify castles, etc., 
they were to render in money the service due to the king. 19 These were all 
areas containing a comparatively large number of small tenants in chief: 
nothing is said of the liberties of Leinster and Meath, of Cork, or of 
Louth, which was mainly divided between the de Verduns and the 
Pippards. No doubt a few relatively large contingents could more easily 
be absorbed in the royal army than could the many small military tenants 
of the other areas. 

The amount of military service actually due to the crown in Ireland 
was not very great. By the end of the thirteenth century a scutage at the 
rate of 40s. a fee brought in about £50 from Dublin, £73 16s. from Louth, 
£55 from Connaught, £123 10s. from Cork, £19 10s. 4d. from Waterford, 
£117 Is. 8d. from Tipperary, £102 13s. 8d. from Limerick, £200 from 
Leinster, £100 from Meath, and £6 from Ulster — a total of just under 
£850, representing not quite 425 fees. 20 But there were of course many 
more fees than this in the country, for all the greater tenants in chief 
had, as in England, created a much larger number of fees by subinfeuda- 
tion than was needed to perform their bare quota of service, and the 
total received by the crown when a scutage was proclaimed was con- 
siderably increased if any of the great liberties were in the king’s hand. 
Thus Meath, which owed the service of fifty knights to the crown, con- 
tained between 100 and 120 fees by the middle of the thirteenth century, 21 
and Leinster, which owed a hundred, seems to have contained about a 
hundred and eighty, 22 while Ulster, assessed at only three, had I6/0 in 

19 C.D.I., I, no. 1048. The payment of scutage does not seem to have been 
recorded on the Irish pipe rolls before 1238 (P.R.O. London, C47/10/15, no. 3). 
For the special position of some of the Dublin tenants in chief, see below, pp. 7-9, 
but it should be noted that Hugh Tyrel of Castleknock served in person in the 
expedition to Maycove in 1253, for the Gascon war in 1254, and in the expedition 
'to Greencastle in 1262, though he paid scutage for an expedition to Kymaleon 
in 1258 (P.R.O. London, C47/10/15. no. 5). 

20 For the documents on which this list is based, see below, pp. 11-13. The total 
varies slightly from time to time, and the sum due from Louth seems to have 
dropped to £57 15s. 4d. by the fifteenth century as the result of a considerable 
reduction in the service due from Ardee. A list of c. 1282 gives a total of 418| 
fees and 19s. lOd. (C.D.I., II, no. 2329); a slightly later one 427 fees and a fraction. 
(M. Bateson, ‘Irish Exchequer Memoranda of the Reign of Edward I’, E[nglish] 
Historical] R[eview], XVIII, pp. 497-513). It seems probable that in the 1280s 
there was a general attempt to define and enforce all services due to the king. 
See below, p. 9. In 1372 the Irish exchequer was ordered not to enforce the 
payment of scutage for lands ‘now by the Irish rebels wasted and occupied’ (Cal. 
Close Rolls. 1369-74, pp. 380-1). 

21 Cf. Calendar of the Gormanston Register, ed. J. Mills and M. J. McEnery 
(Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 1916), pp. 10-13. This is a list of the 59y 
services and a fraction owed to de Genville; we have no list of the services owed 
to de Verdun, the other parcener of the de Lacy inheritance, but it is safe to 
assume that he had approximately the same number of fees in Meath. 

22 There is no complete list of the knights’ fees of Leinster, but the Marshal 
inheritance was divided into five shares, and each of the three parceners whose 
share is fully known to us got 36 fees and a fraction in Leinster. See ante, XLV, 
pp. 139-40. I hope to reconstruct the remaining two shares elsewhere. 



1333. 23 This process, of course, went further down the scale: the more 
important sub-tenants themselves made a profit on each proclamation of 
a royal service. Thus an extent of the Butler lands in Carlow in 1303 
shows that while the Butlers owed the lord of the liberty £8 for royal 
service, they took from their tenants £11 7s., and this at rates averaging 
about a third of the standard 40s. for a knight’s fee. 24 In Tipperary 180 
acres in Balilothnan were held of Otho de Grandison by James, son of 
Richard, who owed Otho 2s. for royal service; James’s tenant of this land, 
William de Naungle, owed James 12s. for royal service. 25 Also in Tip- 
perary, the Butlers owed the crown 6s. 8d. for the royal service of the 
lands held in the manor of Thurles by their tenant, Grimbald de Samles- 
bury: Grimbald owed them 10s. But with Grimbald himself, who held 
only a single fee, we have reached the level at which the immediate lord 
no longer made a profit at each proclamation of royal service, for his 
tenants owed only 3s. 4d. towards it. 26 We should observe that, as in this 
case, many subtenants who were said to hold one or more fees paid 
scutage at rates much lower than the standard 40s. for each fee. It seems 
likely that where this occurred it represented a recognition of the fact that 
these tenants were in a position exposed to constant attack by the Irish, 
and thus needed greater resources to meet their scutage obligations than 
those in the ‘land of peace’. Many of John’s grants to tenants in chief also 
require the service of fewer knights than the number of fees granted, no 
doubt with this intention. 27 Elsewhere, as in Meath and, apparently, 
Louth, the same result was achieved by varying the size of the knight’s 
fee, which was half as large again in the marches. 28 It should be observed 
that the sub-tenant paying scutage not uncommonly paid a fee-farm rent 
as well. 

When it had been decided to take a scutage — by the fourteenth century 
this was being done in parliaments, 29 and earlier was no doubt done in 
the great council of tenants in chief — the sheriffs and seneschals of the 
whole country were ordered to proclaim throughout their bailiwicks that 
all who owed service to the king should be before the justiciar at a 
specified day and place with horses and arms and suitable equipment to 
do their service. 30 The proclamation might be followed immediately by a 

23 Calendar of] Inq[uisitions] P[ost] M\ortem], VII, pp. 377-8. 

2i Red Book of Ormond, pp. 2-3. It should be observed that in Ireland royal 
service is the term almost invariably used for scutage. 

25 Calendar of the] Justiciary] Rolls [of Ireland], 1308-14, ed. M. C. Griffith 
(Dublin, 1956), p. 130. 

2B Red Book of Ormond, pp. 7, 59-60. 

27 C. D.I., I, passim. Cf. Chart. St. Murk's, I, pp. 65, 66. 

28 See below, p. 11. 

29 Parliaments and Councils of Medieval Ireland, ed. H. G. Richardson and G. 
O. Sayles (Irish MSS. Commission, 1947), pp. 9-10. 

39 Armagh Public Library MS. G.II. 13, f. 6d; Cal. Rot. Pat. et Claus., p 9' 
C.D.I., V, nos. 62, 63, 64. 



writ ordering the sheriffs to take the service in money, but our sources 
are so imperfect that we cannot be certain whether this was usual and 
necessary or not, though it is reasonable to suppose that it was. 31 It is 
interesting to note that during the reign of Henry III, though not 
apparently later, half a service — i.e. a scutage at the rate of 20s. a fee — 
was sometimes taken, 32 and it was established practice in the early part 
of the reign to grant to a subject the service due from a specified area, 
sometimes for the full period of forty days, sometimes for only twenty, to 
aid him in fortifying a castle, a practice which sometimes occurs under 
Edward I, while c. 1319 the Earl of Kildare petitioned the king to grant 
him ses services en Irlande en eyde daler en Thochemound pur venger la 
mart Sire Richard de Clare, qi morust en service nostre seignur le reyP 

Service in the army — the expeditio of feudal documents — though the 
most usual was not, of course, the only possible duty of a military tenant. 
Castle-guard, or garrison duty, had been of great importance in the early 
days of Norman feudalism in England, and was certainly a dominant 
feature in the subinfeudation of the marcher lordships of South Wales, 34 
from which so many of the Norman conquerors of Ireland were drawn. 
There is no clear evidence of the position in Ireland, but castleries, areas 
in which subinfeudation was organized primarily to provide a garrison 
for a castle, are mentioned in the first generation of the conquest in con- 
nection with co. Louth, 35 and in 1335 it was stated that Walter Slym- 
berge, who died shortly before 1332, had held five ploughlands and 100 
acres of the Earl of Ulster by the service of 6d. and suit at the earl’s 
court of Carrickfergus, and finding an armed man for the tower called 
Pollardstoure in the castle of Carrickfergus in time of war, and another 
man with two barded horses in time of the earl’s war. 36 This service is 
not mentioned in the inquisitions taken after the murder of the Brown 
Earl in 1333, and it is probable that there were other unrecorded tenures 
of the same type in this area. 

A group of tenancies in co. Dublin presents some curious features: 
their service was to be performed in guarding the city of Dublin, or at 
the gate of the castle of Dublin, and their genesis is most probably the 

31 Cal. Rot. Pat. et Claus., p. 11. 

32 35?/j Rep. D.K., p. 42; Gormanston Register, p. 13. 

36 C.D.I., I, passim; Cal. Justic. Rolls, 1295-1303, p. 230; C.D.I., V, no. 48; 

P.R.O. London, Ancient Petition no. 5946; Cal. Close Rolls, 1318-24, pp. 80, 90. 
De Clare was killed in May, 1318, but the petition seems to belong to the first half 
of 1319. 

34 By the time we have clear evidence the obligation had been very generally 
commuted for an annual payment known as ‘wardsilver’, but the system was clearly 
still in working order in South Wales in the second half of the twelfth century. 
See Cymmrodorion Record Series, no. 7, vol. 3, passim; Cartae et alia munimenta 
quae ad dominium de Glamorgancia pertinent, ed. G. T. Clark (6 vols., Cardiff, 
1910), II, pp. 650-1; Rotuli Litterarum Patentium ed. T. D. Hardy (Record Com- 
missioners, 1835), p. 79; Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1870, pp. i, iii. 

35 Register of the Abbey of St. Thomas the Martyr, Dublin, ed. J. T. Gilbert (Rolls 
Series. 1889), pp. 9, 43, 44. 

36 Armagh Public Library, MS. G. II. 13, f. 9. 



charter of Henry II which granted Hugh de Lacy omnia feoda que prebuit 
vel que prebebit circa Duueliniam dum ballivus meus est, ad faciendum 
mihi servicium apud civititatem meam DuuelinieP Some at least of these 
tenancies were created in the first instance by de Lacy, his charters 
specifying service at the city of Dublin, though this was not always men- 
tioned in the royal charters which subsequently replaced de Lacy’s. One 
of these tenancies (we know of ten, and no doubt some of the other 
tenants in chief of the county fell into the same group) was, however, 
deliberately created in 1207 in place of an existing fee-farm tenure. 38 In 
the 1280s a violent dispute broke out as to their position, two successive 
treasurers, Stephen de Fulburne, bishop of Waterford, and Nicholas de 
Clere, claiming that these tenants should pay scutage ‘according to the 
custom of England’, while the tenants maintained that they and their 
ancestors had always done their service in person with horses and arms 
at the gate of the castle of Dublin. An undated exchequer memorandum 
states that eight of them were making this claim, though the pipe roll of 
xxiij Henry III (1239) showed that they had paid scutage in that year; in 
1286 Nicholas de Howth alleged that he and his ancestors had done their 
service in person at the gate of the castle of Dublin; about the same date 
Hugh Tyrel was making the same claim for his barony of Castleknock in 
an angry petition to the king; and in 1290 Theobald le Botiller com- 
plained that though he held Bray in chief by the service of finding an 
armoured horse at the gate of the castle of Dublin, and he and his pre- 
decessors had always performed the service in person, the justiciar had 
now arbitrarily converted it into a demand for money. 39 It seems very 
doubtful that these claims were in fact justified: in spite of 
their charters, and in spite of the verdict of a jury in 
the case of Castleknock that predictus Hugo fecisset servicium 
predictum in toto tempore suo secundum tenorem cartarum predictarum 
cum equis et armis ad castrum Dublinie in tarn debito sicut omnes 
antecessores sui a tempore primi feoffamenti sui fecerunt et facere con- 
sueverunt , 40 the exchequer officials had no difficulty in showing from the 
pipe rolls that they had either served in person in the army or paid 

37 Gormanston Register, p. 177. I hope to discuss the problems involved in this 
charter at greater length elsewhere. 

38 Cal. Rot. Pat. et Claus., p. 4; C.D.I., I, nos. 345, 346; III, p. 315; Pembroke 
Deeds, no. 4; E.H.R., XVIII, p. 508; Book of Howth, p. 227; P.R.O. London, Ancient 
Petition no. 12880; C47/10/15, no. 5; Armagh Public Library MS. H. II. 16, f. 102. 
The tenancies involved were Coillacht (1 service), Bray (2 services), Rathdown (1| 
service), Dundrum (1 service), Donnybrook (y service), Castleknock (3 services), the 
Ward (y service), Kilsallaghan (y service), Howth (1 service), and an unidentified 
half fee in the honor of Lusk. It should be noted that the grants of Bray and Donny- 
brook were made not by de Lacy, but by Strongbow, acting on behalf of the king. 
The charters of Castleknock (C47/10/15 no. 3) and Hugh Tyrel’s petition (Ancient 
Petition no. 12880) were printed with a commentary by E. St. J. Brooks, ante, this 
Journal, LXIII (1933) pp. 206-20. 

39 E.H.R ., XVIII, p. 508; Book of Howth, p. 227; P.R.O. London, Ancient 
Petition no. 12880; C.D.I., III. p. 315. 

40 P.R.O. London, Ancient Petition no. 12880. 



scutage on a number of occasions during the century, and after this date 
they were absorbed without further protest into the general scutage-paying 
community. 41 It seems likely that the whole incident was connected with 
a general policy of enquiring into and enforcing royal rights which seem 
to have been embarked on in the 1280s, 42 which would naturally provoke 
a reaction from the tenants concerned, and we may observe that at the 
same period Theobald de Verdun was complaining that though his 
charter only required the service of 20 knights for his land of Dundalk, 
the treasurer was exacting the service of 22^-. The pipe rolls showed, 
however, that the service of 22 \ knights had been continuously exacted 
from Dundalk since 1238, when scutage was first entered on them. 43 

The other incidents of feudal tenure in Ireland show no features of 
particular interest. The obligatory aids were the same in Ireland as in 
England, reliefs were on the same scale, and distraint of knighthood 
appears under Edward III. 44 The rights of wardship and marriage were 
also the same, but in the liberties of Leinster and Meath the king 
abandoned his right of prerogative wardship — the right to the custody 
during a minority of all the lands of a tenant in chief, no matter of whom 
they were held — in favour of the lord. 45 Thus the lords of these liberties 
had the wardship of all the lands held of them within their liberties, even 
though many of their tenants also held in chief of the king elsewhere. It 
is not clear whether or not the lords of Leinster and Meath themselves 
enjoyed the right of prerogative wardship within the liberty, as the bishop 
of Durham did in Durham: 46 Edmund Mortimer asserted it in Meath in 
the later fourteenth century, but a jury alleged that it was then an 
innovation. 47 

The chief remaining point of interest is that of the size of the knight’s 
fee. At the time of the Norman conquest of England and for some two 
generations after that, it is clear that Norman feudalism had as yet 
evolved no conception of a standard knight’s fee : charters define a knight’s 
service, but not his fee, which might be composed of separate parcels 
of land, lying many miles apart. But by the middle of the twelfth century 
we begin to get charters which suggest that the conception of a knight’s 

41 E.H.R ., XVIII, p. 508; P.R.O. London. C47/10/15, no. 5. In the pipe roll of 
30 Edward I (1302) Hugh Tyrel’s son accounted for £50 arrears of service for 
Castleknock before Michaelmas term 1286 (38th Rep. D.K., p. 60). 

42 See below, p. 11. 

43 P.R.O. London, C47/10/15, no. 3. 

44 47th Rep. D.K., p. 28; 54th Rep. D.K., p. 53; Cal. Patent Rolls, 1345-6, p. 547; 
Cal. Close Rolls, 1346-9, p. 565. 

i5 Rot[uli] Chart[orum], ed. T. D. Hardy (Record Commissioners, 1837). p. 178; 
C.D.I., II, nos. 195, 264, 740. This was also the position in the palatinate of Durham, 
the lands of the archbishop of Canterbury, and the marcher lordships of Wales 
(Statutes of the Realm, I, p. 22). 

Registrant Palatinum Dunelmensis, ed. T. D. Hardy (4 vols., Rolls Series, 
1873-8), III. p. 62. 

47 Calendar of Ormond Deeds, ed. E. Curtis (6 vols., Irish MSS. Commission, 
1932-43), III, pp. 350-5. 



fee of definite size or value is already developing, and it must have been 
this conception — or rather, conceptions, for there was never a single 
standard but rather standards, which varied widely as between one feudal 
honour and another — that the Normans brought with them to Ireland. 48 
Certainly the language of many of the early grants can only mean that 
in the mind of the king or his officials a knight’s fee was equated with a 
definite area of land. There is, for instance, a grant of 1199 to Lambekin 
fitz William of named lands in the cantred of Huhene as a fee of five 
knights: if the lands contain less than five knights’ fees, the king will 
supply the deficiency; if more, the surplus shall remain to the king. 49 
Earlier, earl Richard (Strongbow), acting for the king, had granted to 
Alfred Gulafre a carucate of land in Dochlon (near Rathland, co. Dublin) 
to hold per liberum servicium militis quod pertinet une carucate terre 
Dublin’ faciendum, language which clearly implies that the number of 
ploughlands appropriate to a knight’s fee in co. Dublin was fixed and 
known. 50 Walter de Ridelesford was granted ten ploughlands for the fee 
of one knight at about the same date, 51 and the grant of Rathfarnham 
and neighbouring lands to Milo le Bret to hold by the service of one and 
a fifth knight’s fees no doubt reflects a calculation of the same kind. 52 
Calculations of value are rare, but at the end of the twelfth century 
Coillacht was granted to the archbishop of Dublin as 20 librates of land 
for the service of one knight, and under Edward I John Walhope got 
five ploughlands for 30 librates of land to hold by the service of one 
knight. 53 Similar calculations may lie behind the grant to Adam de 
Hereford of four ploughlands in Aderrig and its neighbourhood to hold 
by the service of half a fee, 54 which was rather smaller than seems to 
have been usual in this neighbourhood, and that to Dermot Mac 
Gilmeholmoc of fifteen ploughlands held by his father in Rathdown to 
hold by the service of one knight and two otterskins yearly, which was 
■certainly unusually large. 55 But while a knight’s fee of ten ploughlands 
seem to have been a fair average in co. Dublin, in Castleknock, the 
largest lay holding in the county, the Tyrels held sixty ploughlands of 

48 For this whole subject, see Stenton, English Feudalism, pp. 151-68. 

&C.D.1., I, no. 96. 

50 Crede Mihi, pp. 47-8. 

51 Cal. Rot. Pat. et Claus., p. 4. It should be noted that it is impossible to establish 
any exact equivalent to this in terms of acreage: the ploughland is generally thought 
to have contained about 120 acres of arable land, but an indefinite amount of waste 
or uncultivated land might be included, and the Irish acre was certainly larger than 
the statute acre — Mills thought that in co. Dublin it was equivalent to about 21- 
statute acres (ante, this Journal. XIX (1889) pp. 35-6). 

52 C.D.I., I, no. 100. 

5i Crede Mihi, pp. 33-4; C.D.I., IV, no. 228. Cf. ibid., no. 108; a grant of 30 
librates in Connaught to be held by the service of \ knight’s fee. 

5i Ibid„ I, no. 341. The four ploughlands of the manor of Gormanstown which 
lay in co. Dublin were alsio counted as half a fee (Cal. Inq. P.M., V, no. 272). 

55 C.D.I., I, no. 356. By the end of the thirteenth century this service had been 
changed to one knight and a foot serjeant, i.e. 1| fees (British Museum MS. Royal 
18 C. XIV, f. 159). 



the crown by the service of three knights. 56 This exceptionally large area 
must be related to the position in Meath, for the original grant of 
Castleknock was made by Hugh de Lacy, and there is clear evidence 
that in the subinfeudation of Meath twenty ploughlands, as in 
Castleknock, were considered to be the equivalent of a knight’s fee in 
the land of peace, while the figure rose to thirty ploughlands in the 
marches. 57 There are indications of the same structure in co. Waterford, 58 
and in the original subinfeudation of co. Louth a thirty ploughland fee 
seems also to have been usual in the marches, at any rate in the neigh- 
bourhood of Ardee. 59 

Elsewhere the evidence is nothing like so clear cut. The large blocks 
of service imposed by Henry II on Leinster and Meath did not, of 
course, depend on any close calculations of area or value, and John’s 
grant of Ulster to Hugh de Lacy speaks simply of a knight for every 
cantred. 60 As for subinfeudation, apart from the twenty and thirty 
ploughland fees of Meath and, possibly, Louth, we find fees of from ten 
to twenty ploughlands in Wexford. 61 In Kilkenny ten seems to have been 
the average, 62 and there is some evidence for a ten ploughland fee in 
Tipperary in the Butler manor of Thurles. 63 But in many parts of the 
country the evidence is greatly confused by the common practice of 
imposing on sub-tenants scutage liabilities considerably lower than the 
standard rate. 64 . 

That a record should be kept of the services due to the king was 
obviously desirable. In 1281 a memorandum highly critical of the conduct 
of the Irish treasurer says that ‘all services, as scutage in England, ought 
to be entered for remembrance on the king’s rolls, lest service should be 
withdrawn from the king, the more especially as the book called Domesday, 
touching those services and other rights of the king, has been burned’ 65 — - 
the earliest entry in the long and depressing history of the destruction of 
our public records. We are not told whether anything was done to follow 
this up, 66 but there are several surviving attempts to set forth the full 

56 Cal. Justic. Rolls, 1295-1303, p. 246. 

57 Gormanston Register, pp. 10-13; The Song of Dermot and the Earl, ed. G. H. 
'Orpen (Oxford, 1892), p. 310; Cal. Inq. P.M., VII, no. 67. But cf. ibid., V, no. 272. 
Balrothery was probably in the same position as Castleknock. 

58 Cal. Rot. Pat. et Claus., pp. 58, 67. 

59 Cal. Inq. P.M., V, no. 583. 

60 Rot. Chart., p. 151; C.D.I., I, no. 263. The grant of Ulster to Walter de Burgo 
in 1263 reduced this to a total service of 3 knights (British Museum MS. Add. 6041, 
f. lOOd). 

61 C.D.I., V, nos. 306, 764. 

62 Red Book of Ormond, passim. 

6i Ibid„ pp. 53, 71-3. 

64 See above, p. 6. 

65 C.D.I., II, no. 1879. 

66 Ibid., no. 2329 (c. 1284), though it lists the rents due to the king in detail, gives 
only the total number of services due from each county without saying by whom 
or for what lands they were due. It seems, however, that the 1280s were a period 
of general inquiry into and enforcement of the rights of the king, and it is probably 
significant that both the treasurers of this period aroused widespread hostility. See 
above, p. 8. 



list of the royal service of Ireland, of which the earliest must be assigned 
to the end of the thirteenth century. This survives in three separate but 
very closely related texts, which seem to go back to a common original: a 
MS. of c. 1345, preserved in the library of Corpus Christi College. 
Cambridge; 67 a very corrupt text preserved among the Carew MSS. at 
Lambeth; 63 and another very badly written and corrupt sixteenth century 
transcript, made by someone who did not know the places concerned, 
which is preserved in the British Museum. 69 The original was not earlier 
than 1298, since it includes the service of one tenth of a knight’s fee for 
Thorncastle from William le Deveneys which was created in that year; 70 
on the other hand it is probably not much later, since it notes that Bally- 
godman used to owe one service, but is now quit by the lord’s charter. 
Baliygodman had been granted to the nuns of Lismullen by Richard de la 
Cornere, bishop of Meath, c. 1250, and the lord’s charter, which is other- 
wise unrecorded, must have been a charter of Edward I while lord of 
Ireland during his father’s lifetime. 71 

The second list is considerably later: it is contained in a volume of 
collections as to the king’s revenue in Ireland made by a royal official 
at the end of the fifteenth century. 72 It is clear and well written, and the 
place-names are given in their normal form: it was no doubt made in the 
exchequer at Dublin, and though the sources are not given — they were 
almost certainly the lists of sums due for scutage in the pipe rolls — some 
of them were clearly of considerable antiquity, since Walter de Burgo 
(who died in 1271) is said to owe twenty services for Connaught, and 
Richard de Burgo (who died in 1326) three for Ulster. But there is a list 
of fees in co. Wexford which appears to be about a generation later than 
the list assigned by Dr. Brooks to 1425, 73 and was probably compiled for 
the purposes of a scutage taken while the liberty was in the king’s hand. 

The third of the lists though the latest is in many ways the most 
interesting. It is a Liber repertorium omnium inquisitionum et aliarum 
rerum in officio capitalis rememoratoris scaccarie Hibernie factus per 
Walterum Harold deputatus rememoratoris ejusdem scaccarie, and is 
headed 1557, though in fact some of the entries go up to the twentieth 
year of Elizabeth. 74 It seems to have been intended as a record of royal 
rights, and it includes a long section on royal services, taken for the 
most part from the pipe rolls. First, however, comes a rotulus regalis 

67 Corpus Christi MS. 37, edited by M. Bateson, ‘Irish Exchequer Memoranda of 
the Reign of Edward I’, E.H.R., XVIII, pp. 497-513. 

68 Book of Howth, pp. 230-4. Both this and the Corpus Christi MS. add lists of 
rents due to the king and some exchequer memoranda, the Corpus Christi version 
being the more complete of the two. 

69 MS. Titus B XI, ff. 246d-247d. This list is incomplete omitting Meath, Tipperary 
and Limerick. 

79 C.D.I., V, no. 422. 

71 Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1367-1370, p. 124. 

72 British Museum MS. Royal 18 C XIV, ff. 159-165. 

78 E. St. J. Brooks, Knights Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny, 
(Irish MSS. Commission. 1950). 

74 Trinity College, Dublin, MS. E. 3. 4. 



servicii Comitis Marchie tempore Leonelli comitis Ultonie et Johanne 
uxoris sue, the source of which is not stated, but which must, I think, 
have been taken from the inquisitions post mortem taken after the death 
of Edmund Mortimer, whose son later married Lionel’s daughter and 
heiress, in 1360. The Irish part of these inquisitions has not survived 
except insofar as this may be an extract from them, but it should be 
observed that there is no other indication in the MS. that in 1557 there 
remained in the Irish exchequer any inquisition earlier than the twentieth 
year of Richard II. 

This is followed by the royal service of Dublin, taken from a pipe roll 
of the reign of Henry VII, that of Louth from a pipe roll of Edward IV, 
that of Meath from the pipe roll of 10 Henry VI, that of Kildare from 
the pipe roll of 13 Henry VI, 75 that of Tipperary from the pipe roll of 
13 Henry IV, that of Wexford from a pipe roll of the reign of Henry V, 
and finally a detailed list of the royal service due to the lords of the 
manor of Castleknock in the early sixteenth century. While not as com- 
plete, in some respects, as the earlier lists, it gives us fuller information 
as to the subinfeudation of certain of the liberties than is available from 
any other source. But, interesting as these lists are, their detailed con- 
sideration must be left for another occasion. 

It is clear that Norman feudalism, which was introduced into Ireland 
at the point of time when its English variant had, after a century of 
development, assumed its classical form, underwent no significant changes 
in Ireland. Though it is, I think, certain that under Henry II, and even 
under Henry III, it was still contemplated that it would make an 
Important contribution to every military expedition, its contribution became 
almost entirely financial long before the end of the thirteenth century. 
The whole organization thus became largely static, steadily declining in 
even its financial importance as new methods of taxation were applied. 

In conclusion, we may profitably compare Irish feudalism with that of 
certain other European countries. It was, as we have seen, purely an 
offshoot of English feudalism, which was itself derived from Normandy. 
We can thus best compare it with that of other areas of Norman 
feudalism, which, apart from England, spread to southern Italy, and 
thence to the principality of Antioch. 76 There are thus, outside Normandy, 
two main lines of development: England, Wales and Ireland 77 on the one 
hand, and south Italy and Antioch on the other. But it is remarkable 
that, in certain important respects, the feudalism of the marches of Wales 
resembles that of southern Italy, not that of England, from which it was 

75 This is almost, though not quite, identical with that printed by H. F. Hore from 
the British Museum Harleian MS. 3756 in this Journal. VIII (1866), pp. 529-46, and 
both "are certainly based on the inquisition post mortem of the second Earl of 
Kildare, made in January 1329, which is preserved in the Red Book of Kildare. 

76 C. Cahen, Le Regime Feodal de I’ltalie Nonnande (Paris, 1940). 

77 Scotland should really be included in the series, since the development of 
Scottish feudalism was largely influenced by England. 



immediately derived, while that of Ireland, in spite of the fact that a 
high proportion of the first conquerors were themselves Welsh marchers, 
was entirely English in pattern. There are two sets of circumstances which 
seem to explain this: in the first place, the Norman conquerors of South 
Wales at the end of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth 
were only one generation removed from the parent stock in Normandy 
and thus far nearer not only in time, but also in tradition and outlook to 
the men who had set up their petty states in Italy in the middle of the 
eleventh century than were the Anglo-Norman conquerors of Ireland in 
the second half of the twelfth century. In the second place, though 
Ireland was not, as England had been, conquered entirely by the 
initiative and under the direction of the king, nevertheless Henry II 
intervened at an early stage to make certain that his sovereign power and 
position should be effectively recognised and respected. In South Wales 
and in Italy apart from Sicily, on the other hand, the conquest was 
carried out by a number of petty leaders acting independently. It is true that 
the Welsh marchers always recognised the overlordship of the king of 
England, but in practice they were the almost independent rulers of petty 
principalities : 78 in southern Italy the monarchy did not appear till after 
the initial conquests had taken place, and its authority was imposed on 
all the feudatories only gradually, and not without considerable 

The really striking parallel between the marcher lordships of south 
Wales and the Norman state in south Italy is in the matter of the personality 
of feudal law. In Norman England law was from the first territorial, 
and by the reign of Henry II the common law, the practice of the king’s, 
court, was already rapidly beginning to obliterate the old variety of 
provincial custom. Though much Anglo-Saxon law was incorporated in 
this developing body of law and custom, it did not affect the law 
relating to military tenures, which were governed entirely by the ordinary 
rules of feudal law, even if, exceptionally, they were held by men of 
Anglo-Saxon descent. This principle was followed also in Ireland. The 
majority of the native Irish population were, indeed, excluded from the 
benefits of English law , 79 but if an Irishman held a knight’s fee, as some. 
did , 80 he held it by exactly the same rules of law as any Norman. But. 
in both the Welsh marches and southern Italy we find a different 
principle adopted. In the Welsh marches we find side by side with normal 
military tenancies Welsh fees, which descended according to the rules of 
Welsh customary law, which divided an inheritance among all the male 
heirs, taking no account of whether they were legitimate or not, and which 

78 See J. Otway-Ruthven, ‘The constitutional position of the greait lordships of 
south Wales’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Series 5, vol. VIII, 

pp. 1-20. 

79 See J. Otway-Ruthven, The native Irish and English law in medieval Ireland’, 
I.H.S., VII, pp. 1-16. 

80 See e.g. C.D.I., I, no. 356. Cf. Red Book of Ormond, p. 20 and passim, which 
shows a number of Irishmen holding fee-farm tenancies. 



gave the lord no right of either wardship or marriage. 81 The fragmen- 
tation in which this resulted (in 1325 eleven such fees in Pembrokeshire 
were said to be in the hands of ‘innumerable tenants’) 82 must have made 
it impossible to ensure the performance of any services, and clearly the 
lord had very little control over them. In just the same way, we find in 
southern Italy that certain tenants held by Lombard law, which divided 
an inheritance among all the heirs, male and female, but regarded a 
woman as always juridically a minor, while others held by ‘Frankish’ 
law — this is, by the ordinary rules of Norman feudalism as they 
developed in this area. 83 Nothing of the kind was, however, possible in 
Ireland, for the guiding principle, constantly reiterated, was that the law 
of Ireland was, and ought to be, the same as that of England. 84 In north- 
east Ulster a number of Irish rulers, who retained a semi-independent 
position outside the framework of Norman administration, and whose 
territories were clearly areas of Irish law, did indeed nominally hold of 
the earl by the service of providing ‘satellites’ 85 for his wars, but this 
service was completely outside any feudal category. 86 

Irish feudalism must be classed, then, simply as an almost unmodified 
extension of that branch of Norman feudalism which was established in 
England: in this, as in other respects, the comparison with the Welsh 
marches which the identity of the conquerors of Ireland inevitably 
suggests proves to have very little relevance. The development of the 
power of the monarchy and of the common law under Henry II was 
apparently an impassable barrier preventing any eccentric development. 

81 Cymmrodorion Record Series, 7, vol. 3, p. 97; ‘Baronia de Kemeys’, supplement 
to Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1862, pp. 72-4. 

82 Ibid. 

83 Cahen, op. cit., pp. 38-9, 82-9. In both Italy and Wales the juridical status of 
the fee did not necessarily correspond to the racial origins of the tenant. 

84 Early Statutes of Ireland, ed. H. F. Berry (Dublin, 1907), pp. 20, 21, 23-4, 30, 
31-2, 33, 35; C.D.I., I, nos. 1430, 1458, 1481, 1679; III, no. 318. See Pollock and 
Maitland, History of English Law (2nd ed., Cambridge, 1923), I. p. 221; Maitland, 
Collected Papers, II, 81-3; H. G. Richardson and G. O. Sayles, ‘The Early Statutes’, 
Law Quarterly Review, L, p. 548. See above p. 2. n. 4. 

85 Identified as kern in 1329 — satellites domini Johannis de Bermyngham comitis 
Loueth qui vocantur ketherne (P.R.O. London, C 47/ 10/ 19, no. 18). 

88 See E. Curtis, ‘The Bonnaght of Ulster’, Hermathena, XXI, pp. 87-105. 


By Ellen Prendergast, Member 

T'HE discovery of a prehistoric burial was made by Mr. John Tallon and 
Mr. John Carty of Killinure, Tullow, Co. Carlow, while removing 
sand from a newly-opened sandpit on 1st June, 1944. It was reported by 
Mr. Tallon, the landowner, to the National Museum authorities and 
investigated by the writer two days later. 

The sandpit in which the discovery was made is one of a series which 
forms part of the South Irish End-Moraine and occurs about 300 ft. O.D., 
in the townland of Rath, Co. Wicklow. 1 At the find-spot the deposit of 
sand forms a circular mound about 60 m. in diameter and about 5 m. 
above the level of the surrounding field which was under meadow and 
had not been tilled for at least six years. As far as Mr. Tallon knew the 
sandpit had never been worked before and there had been no surface 
indication of a grave there; it was only when he and Mr. Carty made 
the discovery that they recalled the local tradition that the “Old Pagan’s 
Grave” was in this field or the adjoining one. How or when this tradition 
arose is now forgotten. 

Mr. Tallon and Mr. Carty gave a detailed account of the discovery. 
During the course of sand digging at the centre of the mound they came 
upon some large stones on the face of the sandpit about 3 ft. below the 
surface. As these became more fully exposed, they were seen to resemble 
“a stone coffin with cover stones,” extending in an East-West direction. 
Owing to the looseness of the sand the heavy slabs soon began to fall 
out of position but the formation of the structure had been carefully 
observed. The reconstruction is based on the discoverer’s account and, I 
think, is reliable (Figure 1). When the stone at the East end slipped out 
of place a small complete pottery bowl was seen standing upright on the 
sandy bottom of the ‘coffin’ in one corner. This was rescued almost intact. 
It contained some dark ashy material. This was emptied out and in it 
was found a small, very hard bone resembling “a finger-bone”. The hard- 
ness of the bone was stressed by the finders and suggests that it had been 
burnt but unfortunately, it had been lost in the sand. No other bones or 
traces of charcoal were noticed; apart from the bowl, the compartment was 
empty. This part of the tomb was formed of slabs placed on edge, two at 
each side and a single one at the ends and was covered with three flat 
slabs lying side by side; a few smaller stones supported the sidestones on 
the outside. There was no slab or paving on the floor of the ‘coffin’. It 
was approximately 90 cm. long by 50 cm. wide and 30 cm. deep and the 

1 Parish Ardoyne, barony Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow, O.S. 6" sheet 42, 34 cm. East, 
2 cm. South. 



average measurements of the slabs, which were scattered down the sand- 
pit, were 40 x 35 x 15 cm. Only the western end stone was still in position 
when I visited the site. 

Our examination indicated that a further compartment was still intact 
behind this stone. To uncover it an excavation was carried out for a dis- 
tance of 1.50 m. back from the pit-face and a small square cist was 

Fig. 1. The dotted lines show the portion based on finders’ description 

disclosed (Figure 1). It was formed of four upright slabs, that on the East 
side having formed the partition between it and the destroyed compart- 
ment, the two chambers having lain in the same straight line. It was 
sealed by two overlapping capstones and buttressed around outside by 
irregular stones. Internally the average measurements were 50 cm. long 



by 35 cm. wide by 25 cm. deep, the slabs averaging 15 cm. in thickness. 
A single flat slab was neatly fitted to form the floor and on it were piled 
cremated bones on top of which a thin layer of fine sand had infiltrated. 
The entire structure was removed but no other burnt material or artefacts 
were found. All the component stones of the two compartments were of 
local granite. The stratification from the surface was almost uniforfnly 
10 cm. humus, 12 cm. dark loose soil, 45 cm. fine sand resting on gravel 
beneath. The grave was bedded into this gravel. 

Protruding from the pit face about 10 m. to the south of the excavated 
grave and at the same depth below the surface in a similar stratification, 
a haphazard pile of large stones was noticed. A crushed vessel, which 
seemed to have been placed mouth upwards, lay beneath them. As the 
pit face was then crumbling down the potsherds were hastily rescued. It 
was not possible to recognise any structural plan in the overlying stones, 
but they appeared to be a collapsed stone-grave of small size. The stones, 
all of granite, were by no means as regular as those used in the 
excavated grave. No trace of bone or charcoal was found. 

The cremated bones were kindly examined by Dr. F. P. Lisowski, 
University of Birmingham, whose full report is appended below. They 
were the remains of one person, a young man aged 20 to 23 years; the 
squatting facets on the heel bones is a feature which is frequently noticed 
on prehistoric skeletons. 

The Pottery 2 

The slightly damaged vessel from the first chamber discovered was 
later repaired in the National Museum (Reg. No. 1944: 246) (Figure 2). It 
is bowl-shaped with incurving neck and rounded bottom and the whole 
exterior surface is decorated. Spaced evenly around the line of its 
greatest circumference were four lugs, three of which remain. The ware 
is of fine texture with small sandy grits containing a high proportion of 
quartz; it is buff-coloured throughout with darker areas on the external 
burnished surface. The rim is plain, rounded and slightly thickened on the 
inside. The walls increase in thickness towards the base. The lugs are 
formed of small loops of clay applied to the vessel before ornamentation, 
and each has a small horizontal perforation. 

Only one motif is used in the ornamentation, it is a whipped-cord or 
cog-wheel indentation with fine toothing. This is arranged in horizontal 
lines around the body. The spaces between the lines gradually increase 
in width from rim to base though the individual bands are not always 
of uniform width. The cog-wheel ornament is interrupted by the lugs 
and there is a short double line at either side of each one; the lugs 
themselves have horizontal lines of the same ornament. There is a 

2 Mr. John Tallon generously presented the two vessels to the National Museum, 




Fig. 2. Pottery Vessels 



cruciform pattern on the bottom. The vessel is 9.0 cm. high, the greatest 
diameter of the body is 14.5 cm. and the internal diameter of the mouth 
is 10.0 cm. 

The second vessel which was found in sherds was reconstructed in the 
Museum (Reg. No. 1944: 247) (Fig. 2). It is round-bottomed, with thick 
rim sloping outward, restricted neck and very slight shoulder, below 
which are two small projections, apparently applied, diametrically 
opposite each other. The ware is likewise hard and fine-textured with 
sandy grits, buff-coloured with dark burnished surface externally. The 
inside of the rim has a narrow bevel covered with a row of short parallel 
incisions. Otherwise the ornament consists of whipped-cord or cog- 
wheeling, sometimes rather deeply impressed and giving a shallow 
grooved effect. The outer slope of the rim bears four rows executed in this 
technique and a series of similar rows covers the body below the pro- 
jections. The neck and shoulder are plain. There is a slight internal bulge 
behind the neck restriction; the outside of the rim has a raw under-edge 
but there is no indication that this portion was added separately in the 
making of the pot. The average thickness of the walls and the base is 
1.25 cm.; the height is 14.0 cm. and the internal diameter of the mouth 
is 17 cm. 

Because of the resemblance in shape and the similarity of the ware and 
the ornament, it is probable that both of these vessels are contemporary 
and, indeed, may have been made by the same potter. The whipped-cord 
or cog-wheel impressions in both instances are closely similar though 
fainter and less deeply impressed on the smaller vessel. How this 
ornament was executed is open to speculation — an actual ‘cog-wheel’ is 
unlikely to have been employed. The impressed lines without break or 
obvious overlap, would be difficult to achieve with a straight comb or 
stamp. The use of a tightly whipped cord as distinct from a twisted cord 
seems to be the easiest method and extreme care must have been exercised 
to avoid a blundered joint. Only in one instance, on the larger pot, could a 
loose end be detected. There is no evidence in the structure of the pots 
as to their method of construction; it was probably by hollowing out the 
mass of clay rather than by the coil technique since no horizontal joints 
could be detected in the broken fabric. 


The Pottery. 

The general character of the Rath pottery suggests that it belongs to the 
Neolithic tradition, possibly with later influences. It is in the Irish series 
that its elements may be more easily recognised as the late Professor 
6 Rfordain has indicated. 3 In an attempt to define its relationships an 

3 PPS, 12(1946), 149, 158, pi. XI. 



analysis of its components in respect of ware, shape and ornament is 
necessary. Ware: The hard close texture and the faintly burnished surface 
of the Rath pottery are comparable to Neolithic wares though much less 
fine than the best of them. Indeed, some of the finer Foodvessel wares 
are quite close to it. The micaceous grits suggest local manufacture as 
was noticed about the Neolithic sherds from Norrismount, Co. Wexford . 4 

Shape: The round bottom in both cases is a Neolithic characteristic. 
The outline of the larger one bears a superficial likeness to the recon- 
structed Linkardstown pot 5 and points to the Western Class IA ware as 
found at Lough Gur 6 and in the so-called Sandhill varieties . 7 The 
suggestion of shoulder recalls the typical Irish form G of Piggott’s classifi- 
cation . 8 The rim shape can be matched most nearly on the Sandhill pots , 9 
on pot M from the Court Cairn at Ballyreagh, Co. Fermanagh 10 and on a 
small cup from a habitation site at Lough Gur 11 but, on the other hand, 
it is not far removed from vessels of Baltic ancestry such as that from 
Mortlake. The small rounded lugs may be best paralleled on Western 
Neolithic decorated Beacharra vessels , 12 and the lugs on the Drimnagh 
bowl which is regarded as of Chalcolithic date are elongated . 13 

In shape this smaller Rath pot recalls the small decorated Beacharra 
bowls with incurved necks which are so closely associated with Northern 
Court Cairns , 14 and the related Scottish tombs. A remarkably similar 
vessel has been found, more recently, at Caherguillamore, Co. Limerick, 
where it is associated with Neolithic and Beaker wares and bone pins of 
Passage Grave type . 15 The smaller Rath pot has also a strong resemblance 
to the outline of the bowl Foodvessels, especially those with a continuous 

4 A. T. Lucas: JRSAI, 80(1950), 156. 

5 J. Rafcery : JRSAI, 74(1944), 61-2. S. P. 6 Riordain: PPS, 12(1946), 149. S. 
Piggott: Neol. Cultures, 274. 

6 S. P. 6 Riordain: PRIA, 56C(1954), 297 ff. 

7 Rev. L. M. Hewson : JRSAI, 68(1938), especially Dundrum vessels, pp. 73-87. 

8 S. Piggott: Arch. Jour., 88(1931), 75. 

9 Hewson, op. cit., Dundrum, Pot 3, fig. 7, p. 76 (the angle of the section as 
illustrated there should incline more inward); Pot 1, fig. 5, p. 74 and a similar rim 
from Newcastle which is not illustrated but is registered in the National Museum 
1934: 6612. 

10 O. Davies: UJA, 5(1942), 87, fig. 5. 

11 S. P. 6 Riordain: PRIA, 560(1954), 332, fig. 15 (5). 

12 e.g., E. E. Evans: Lyles Hill, Archaeol. Research Public. (N.T.), No. 2, (1953), 
p. 38, fig. 14; p. 40, fig. 15. Evans & Davies: PBNHPS, 1933-4(1935). pi. IV (2) 

43 H. E. Kilbride-Jones: JRSAI. 69(1939), 190 IT. 

14 e.g.. Mullin & Davies: UJA, 1(1938), 105, Pot D (Carrick East). I. Herring: 
JRSAI, 71(1941), 43, Pot i, fig. 2 (Tamnyrankin). O. Davies: JRSAI, 69(1939), 34, 
fig. 4 (Aghanaglack): and compare Lyles Hill, pot 70, fig. 16, and Hewson: JRSAI, 
(1936), 169, fig. 17 (Murlough Bay). 

15 Mr. J. Hunt kindly permits me to refer to this prior to his forthcoming pub- 



curve . 16 It may be mentioned that rounded bases are not altogether 
unknown among Foodvessels . 17 

The simple rim form of the smaller Rath vessel is usual on Neolithic 
bowls and Beakers . 18 To return to the problem of the lugs, on this Rath 
vessel they differ from the type found on its companion in that they are 
vertically applied and horizontally perforated. Such perforated lugs may 
be found on pure Western forms 19 though rarely in Ireland on Neolithic 
pottery. However, there are examples of perforated lugs on the Food- 
vessels . 20 Usually Foodvessels with lugs and stops show bowl-vase inter- 
action . 21 It would appear, then, that the form of the Rath vessels indicates 
affinity with Neolithic, more specifically Beacharra, types, on the one 
hand, and with bowl Foodvessels on the other. 

Ornament: The motif and style is similar on both pots. Fine cording 
gives a similar effect on the Beacharra bowls from the Court Cairns of 
Northern Ireland and perhaps the closest parallels are provided at 
Tamnyrankin (Pots D, I and Pot A which Childe has described as a 
Proto-Foodvessel). The occurrence of cord or pseudo-cord ornament raises 
the question whether it is an indigenous element in Court Cairns and on 
the Sandhill pottery or an intrusive element, ultimately from the Baltic. 
At Lyles Hill this ornament is “sometimes so fine as to resemble the 
impressions left by the milled edge of a coin ” 22 and the same may be said 
of the Rath ornament. It occurs on Beaker ware, occasionally arranged 
Shorizontally as may be seen for instance on Irish examples . 23 But it is 
on Foodvessels that this ornament occurs most profusely. Particularly it 

16 National Museum of Ireland, Register No. 1906: 202 (Illustrated in J. 
Abercromby: Bronze Age Pottery, 1(1912), pi. XLVI, figs. 281, 281a and p. 121): and 
e.g., that from Mountfield, Co. Tyrone; here the ornament is almost exclusively 
of cording or comb impressions variously arranged and it has a decorated base, other 
points of similarity to Rath. It is said to have been associated with a lozenge-shaped 
stone arrowhead with a simulation of flint chipping on the surface and possibly of 
early date. 

17 On one from Hartwell Upper, Co. Kildare, (National Museum, acquired 1939, 
unpublished) from a cist with cremation in a sandpit; cog-wheeling or combing, 
variously arranged, is the chief motif used in the ornamentation. 

18 e.g., Lyles Hill, pots 56 and 70: Tamnyrankin, pot i: Dundrum, Co. Down, 
pot ii, (Hewson (1938), 83 fig. 18): Grange beaker (S. P. 6 Riordain; PRIA. 
54CC1951), 56, fig. 5). 

19 S. Piggott: Arch. J., 88(1931), 77, fig. 2, and e.g. in M’Cleland & May; UJA, 
5, (1942), 13, fig. 1 (1). 

20 See Mountstewart, Co. Down. Evans & Megaw: PPS, 3(1937), 40. footnote 5 
and references there. The Multiplie-cist Cairn context is to be noted with relation 
to the Rath burial. 

21 S. P. O Riordain: PPS, 12(1946), 158: L. F. Chitty: Bull. Board of Celtic 
Studies, 9(1938), 275-283. 

22 E. E. Evans: Lyles Hill, \1 

2 8 S. P. 6 Riordain: PRIA, 54C0951), 71: PRIA, 56C(1954), 297, 394: S. P. 
J6 Riordain and G. F. Mitchell: PRIA. 48C0942). fist. 5. a: S. P. O Riordain: 
JCHAS, 53(1948), 19 ff: H. O’N. Hencken : JRSAI, 65(1935). 209, fig. 9. a. The 
ornament, though not arransed horizontally is remarkably similar to that at Rath. 
See W. E. Griffiths: PPS, 23(1957), 50, fig. 7 (2, 3) for Welsh beakers, and M. C. 
Mitchell: PSAS, 68(1923-4), 163, fig. 1, for Scottish beakers. 



seems to be the case on those from sites with Neolithic implications and 
from Multiple-cist Cairns. 

The cruciform pattern on the base immediately suggests affinities with 
Foodvessel where such decoration is well represented. It occurs most 
frequently on the Irish bowl type especially on examples in apparently 
early contexts . 24 A similar pattern is found on the Drimnagh hanging bowl. 
Thus, the ornamentation can derive, in large measure, from the Beacharra 
styles; Beaker influence is possible but the closest link is with Irish 

All things considered, it seems that the Rath pottery is an Irish develop- 
ment embodying mainly Western Neolithic characteristics and tending 
very definitely towards the Bronze Age Foodvessels; it may even be the 
result of fusion of these styles . 25 

Siting and Grave Type. 

Apart from the pottery, there are two salient features of the burials at 
Rath which may be considered in attempting to find the cultural and 
chronological context, namely, the nature of the siting and the structure 
of the grave. 

Siting: Burial in a gravel deposit is characteristic of Bronze Age burials 
especially those containing Foodvessels. Such burials often occur in 
groups and this suggests for Rath affinities with the Multiple-cist Cairns 26 
where the Foodvessel is again characteristic. It could be argued that the 
utilisation of the round natural deposit at Rath is, as it were, a 
substitute for the artificially erected cairn. Neolithic finds in cists of 
megalithic proportions under round mounds came from Linkardstown 
and Norrismount which seem to have some relationship with Rath. At 
Martinstown 27 sandpit an overlap of Neolithic and Foodvessel seems 
probable. Grave Type: The long grave with its two compartments may be 
a degeneration from megalithic structures and suggests comparisons with 
Wedge-shaped Galleries. In the Bronze Age there are graves which may 
have some relationship with the Rath structure. In the cemetery at 
Knockast, Co. Westmeath 28 there is a double grave in which was found 
fragments of what appears to have been a round-bottomed vessel, possibly 

24 e.g„ at Lyles Hill, 47, fig. 18, No. 88: Mountstewart, see footnote (18) above, 
pi. X. pot E: Ballybrew, Co. Wicklow; Martin, Price & Mitchell, PR! A. 43C(1936), 
pi. XXVIII, fig. 2. 

25 The overlap of Western Neolithic, Beaker and Foodvessel pottery is exemplified 
in a Wedge tomb at Lough Gur (S. P. 6 Rfordain and G. 6 h-Iceadha: JRSAI, 
85(1955), 34-50. 

26 These may be artificially erected cairns or the graves may be in esker mounds. 
For instance at Keenoge, Co. Meath. Excavated by Dr. A. Mahr, 1929. on behalf of 
the National Museum of Ireland. Unpublished. And Killicarney, Co. Cavan. W. R. 
F. Wakeman: JRSAI. 15(1879-82), 188-200. 

27 P. J. Hartnett: JRSAI, 81(1951), 1 ff. The Foodvessels from this site were found 
later and are not published : the association is not conclusive. 

28 H. O’N. Hencken and H. L. Movius: PRIA, 41C(1934), 242-3, graves 24 and 



of Neolithic ancestry. Some Beaker graves may be relevant. For instance, 
the mound at Moytirra 29 covered two compartments, side-by-side if not 
conjoined, which produced bell-beakers and a sherd of Carrowkeel ware. 
And there were two double-cists in the Multiple-cist Cairn at Poula- 
wack, Co. Clare , 30 in one of which was a Beaker sherd. 

Foodvessel graves also include double structures. Bowl Foodvessels and 
jet beads were recovered from the Oldbridge site 31 and from the 
‘porched’ cist at Rathbennet . 32 Other comparable double-cists occur, 
sometimes without datable gravegoods. 


Taking everything into account, then, it may be said that the Food- 
vessel affinities recognisable in the Rath pottery and even more clearly 
in the manner of burial, suggest a date when the Foodvessel cist-burials 
had been firmly established and while the Western Neolithic still 
persisted . 33 

29 W. G. Wood-Martin: The Rude Stone Monuments of Ireland (1888), 182-5, 
fig. 145. 

30 H. O’N. Hencken: JRSAI, 65(1935), 191 ff . : N. B. Graves 6 and 8 (Poulawack). 
31 G. Coffey: PRIA, 3, 3rd S.(1896), 747-752: J. Abercromby: BAP. 1(1912), 143. 
32 R. A. S. Macalister and R. M. Murray: PRIA, 40C(1932), 308-311. 

331 would like to express my gratitude to Professor R. de Valera, University 
College, Dublin, for his useful criticism of this report while it was being prepared. 




By F. P. Lisowski, Department of Anatomy, The University of Birmingham 

The present account relates to a study of the cremated remains from a pre- 
historic cist at Rath, Co. Wicklow. The investigation of this material follows that used 
on previous occasions by the author (1956, 1957, 1958), and is based on the careful 
analyses of Gejvall (1947, 1948). The aim in a study of this sort is to try, if possible, 
to determine the age, sex and number of individuals cremated. 


Cremated remains. The human cremation comes from one site at Rath. It was in 
a fairly clean condition and there were no traces of charcoal. 

Preparation of material. The remains were washed on a sieve of a 2 mm. mesh 
(Atkinson 1953) and then allowed to dry. Next the dust was sieved off and all 
foreign matter removed. This was followed by sorting out all the identifiable remains. 
The residue was grouped into fragments that belonged to unidentified long bones and 
miscellaneous unidentified bony remains. All the material was weighed and then 
examined in detail. Some of the fragments could be glued together, however, actual 
reconstructions were impossible. 

Estimation of number, sex and age. The number of individuals cremated was 
established by the presence of certain skeletal parts, e.g. certain skull fragments, upper 
and lower ends of the femur and tibia. 

A diagnosis of the sex is obviously only approximate and in this case was 
diagnosed from certain cranial elements. 

The age could be assessed from the state of the spheno-occipital suture. The 
examination of the external and internal structure of the teeth (Gustafson 1950) was 
impossible owing to their poor condition. 


General. Total weight 1833 gm. The fragments tend to be quite large, though the 
range is from 3 mm. to 114 mm. The colour varies from bluish grey to white, a few 
pieces are reddish brown. Distortions and cracks are very common. Quite a number 
of fragments fit together. The results of the analysis are set out in Tables 1 and 2. 

Skull. The fragments vary in length from 5 mm. to 76 mm. One large piece, 
76 mm. by 35 mm., is part of the glabellar region of the frontal bone. The glabella, 
superciliary ridges and orbital margins are well marked and show male characteristics. 
The frontal air sinuses, too, are well developed. 

Fragments representing the right mastoid process and the region of the external 
occipital protuberance also show male features. 

Part of the left side of the sphenoid retains the foramen rotundum and part of a 
uniting spheno-occipital suture, indicative of early adulthood. A fragment of the 
right side of the sphenoid is also present. 

The fronto-nasal processes of the right and left maxilla show the edges of the 
nasal aperture, the nasolacrimal duct and part of the maxillary sinus. 

Part of the left petrous portion of the temporal bone with its internal auditory 
meatus is present. 

The right zygomatic bone; part of the left pterygoid process; maxillary fragments 
showing sockets for molar, premolar and incisor teeth; and part of the left external 
auditory meatus were also found. 

Right and left upper parts of the mandibular rami, together with their processes, 
are also present. The right side shows part of the mandibular canal and an open 
socket for the third molar. One other piece belongs to the symphysial region and has 
two well-marked genial tubercles. 

Innumerable miscellaneous fragments of the vault are also present. Many have 
serrated sutural edges, but none show uniting or united sutures. In several pieces the 
outer or inner table had split off, leaving an exposed diploe. 


Teeth. Roots of two canines, two upper molars and two lower molars, as well as 
’three incisors and one premolar were found. All the root canals were open and there 
is no root resorption. The remainder is composed of fragments of teeth. The degree 
of attrition could not be ascertained. 

Vertebral column. This is represented by bodies of lumbar vertebrae and some 
thoracic vertebrae that show facets for articulation with ribs. A fragment of a cervical 
vertebra with its transverse foramen was also found. A piece of the upper part of the 
sacrum and fragments of transverse and articular processes, some with pedicles and 
laminae make up the remainder. 

Ribs. A number of rib fragments, mainly those of shafts and a few representing 
the head-neck-tubercle region are present. 

Clavicle. One fragment of the right intermediate one-third was found. 

Scapula. Part of the gleno-spinous region was identified. 

Humerus. Two fragments were found, the right medial condyle with part of the 
trochlea and the adjoining olecranon fossa, and part of a shaft with its deltoid 

Radius. A right lower fragment with its articular surface and styloid process and 
part of a head are present. 

Ulna. Part of the right coronoid process with its radial and trochlear notch and a 
styloid process could be identified. 

Pelvis. This consists of a rather large right auricular articular region, a right and 
left greater sciatic notch fragment and a few iliac pieces. 

Femur. This bone is very well represented by large fragments: right and left 
upper ends each with a large head, neck and marked greater trochanter, as well as 
the upper part of the shaft; a few shaft fragments showing the linea aspera and pop- 
liteal part; and right and left lower end pieces with remains of their condyles, 
together with a few condylar fragments, are also present. 

Patella. The major part of the right patella was found. 

Tibia. Right and left upper end fragments showing the articular surfaces and 
tubercles were found, as well as pieces of the shaft and a right and left lower end 
with their medial malleoli. 

Fibula. The left head and the adjoining upper one-third of the shaft and the right 
and left lateral malleoli are present. 

The bones of the hand and foot. The major part of the right talus is there. It has 
a fairly large neck -body angle and a squatting facet, the navicular facet faces more 
dorsally. The posterior part of the left calcaneum was found. Part of the right and 
left navicular (foot) bone is present. The greater part of the right cuboid is there. Two 
cuneiforms were found. 

Apart from these the remainder consists of miscellaneous metatarsal, metacarpal 
and phalangeal elements. 

Miscellaneous longbones. This group is represented by fragments of the shafts 
of the humerus, radius, ulna, femur, tibia and fibula. None of these could be 
identified as to which bone they belong to. The size of the fragments varies from 
12 mm. to 60 mm. 

Miscellaneous bones. The size of the pieces varies from 3 mm. to 39 mm. None 
of the fragments could be identified. 

Pathology. Signs of osteoarthritis or traumatic fractures are absent. 

Animal bones. None were found. 


It is to be expected that larger fragments should survive primitive methods of 
combustion. And in the case of the Rath cremation this is borne out. However, it is 
of interest to note that material from Wales, Scotland and England previously exam- 
ined by the author (1956. 1957, 1958) was very fragmented and, therefore, most likely 
broken up deliberately after cremation. This did not occur in the case of the Rath 
remains, and thus it will be of interest to find out whether this is so in the case of 
other Irish cremations or whether Rath is an isolated case. 



The above findings lead to the following conclusions: the individual cremated 
was most probably a male of about 20 to 23 years of age. The age estimation in this 
case was quite easy since the spheno-occipital suture had not yet fully united. The 
talus gives some additional information and conforms to the general neolithic pattern. 
The squatting facet, the large neck-body angle and the navicular facet indicate that 
the young adult male was in the habit of squatting. 

Tables 1 and 2 give the quantitative results. Table 1 shows that nearly three- 
quarters of the total material could be identified, this is due to the rather larger 
fragments. Table 2 shows, as on previous occasions, that the miscellaneous long bone 
fragments form the largest identified entity and this is followed by the percentage of 
skull elements. 


Atkinson, R. J. C. (1953) Field Archaeology, 2nd ed., pp. 69-70, London: Methuen. 

Gejvall, N. G. (1947) ‘Bestamming av branda ben fran forntida gravar’. Fornvannen, 
folio 1: 39-47. 

Gejvall, N. G. & Sahlstrom, K. E. (1948) ‘Gravfaltet pa kyrkbacken i Horns socken 
Vastergotland. II. Antropologisk del.’ Kungl. Vitterhets Historic och 
Antikvitets Akade/niens Handl. Del 60, 2: 153-180. 

Gustafson, G. (1950) ‘Age determinations on teeth’, J. Amer. Dent. Ass., 41: 45-54. 

Lisowski, F. P. (1956) The cremations from Barclodiad y Gawres’. In Barclodiad 
y Gawres by T. G. E. Powell & G. E. Daniel, Appendix B, pp. 62-69, 
Liverpool : University Press. 

Lisowski, F. P. (1957) ‘The cremations from the Culdoich, Leys & Kinchyle sites’. 
In the press. 

Lisowski, F. P. (1958) ‘The cremations from the West Kennet site’. In the press. 



Table 1. The weight and percentage distribution of the 
total identified and unidentified cremated human remains. 

Skeletal material 



Percentage total 

Identified total 



Unidentified total 






Table 2. The weight and percentage distribution of the individual identified remains 

Skeletal material 



Percentage identified 

Percentage total 





Vertebral column 




























Upper limb total 








Femur and patella 












Lower limb total 




Hand and foot 




Miscellaneous long bones 




Identified total 





by Breandan 6 Riordain, Member 

In an early issue of this Journal 1 the Rev. Janies Graves describes the 
results of explorations carried out at Ballon Hill 2 in 1853 and 1854 by 
J. Richardson Smith who was then staying with his brother-in-law, John 
Frederick Lecky, of Ballykealy House, Co. Carlow. Graves’s account, as 
he states, was compiled from information received from Smith and from 
an account of the work which was delivered at a meeting of the Archaeo- 
logical Institute of Great Britain and Ireland by the Rev. William Turner 3 
whose information derived from a diary of the digging which had been 
kept by Smith. In the course of the exploration many urns and food 
vessels were found and Graves’s article is accompanied by illustrations 
of twelve of the vessels and a sherd of another which had been discovered 
by Smith. Nine of the vessels illustrated, together with others found at 
the site at a later stage, 4 were presented to the National Museum of 
Ireland by Colonel Frederick Beauchamp Lecky of Ballykealy House, 
Co. Carlow in 1928. 5 

The other three complete vessels illustrated in Graves’s article 6 were 
thought to have been lost or broken up as they were not included among 
those presented to the National Museum in 1928 and were not recorded 
as having been preserved in the Lecky house in Co. Carlow. 

In the course of a recent examination of food vessels of Irish pro- 
venance in the British Museum 7 the writer discovered that three of the 
specimens in that collection, recorded in the Acquisitions Register 8 as 
being from “Ireland. No Locality”, are in fact, the three missing Ballon 
Hill vessels. The vessels were presented to the British Museum in 1922 
by N. D. Smith of Beechcroft, Kilmington, Devon. No further particulars 
concerning the donor are available but it seems reasonable to assume that 
he was a relative of the J. Richardson Smith who undertook the 
exploration of Ballon Hill in 1853 and subsequent years. 9 

ll The Pagan Cemetery at Ballon Hill, County of Carlow,” JRSAI 2, 1852-53, 
295-303, Pis. 1-3. 

2 Td. Ballon, Par. Ballon, Bar. Forth, Co. Carlow. O.S. 6" Sheet 13, 45 cm. E., 
5.6 cm. N., 430' O.D. 

6 The Arch. Jour. 11, 1854, 73-5. 

4 Graves, JRSAI 3, 1854-55, 374-5. 

5 Mahr, JRSAI 60, 1930, 73-4; National Museum Reg. Nos. 1928: 430-447. 

6 JRSAI 2, 1852-53, PL 1: 1, PI. 2: 7, PI. 3: 13. 

"The writer must express his gratitude to the Council of the Royal Irish Academy 
which generously gave a grant towards his research expenses. 

8 B. M. Register 1920. 11-9, Nos. 2, 3 and 4. 

9 Results of further work carried out by Mr. Lecky, the landowner, in 1867, are 
reported in JRSAI 9, 1867, 209-210. 



The Pottery 

Food Vessel No. 1920. 11—9, 2 (P1.1 : 1) 

It measures 11.7 cm. high, 13.1 cm. in external diameter at the mputh 
and 5.8 cm. in diameter at the base. The rim is everted and it is decorated 
on the internal bevel with an impressed herringbone motif. The external 
surface of the everted rim bears a row of vertical, incised lines and below 
this there are two narrow, horizontal zones; the upper zone is decorated 
with a herringbone motif, the lower zone is filled with a row of close-set 
vertical incisions. On the shoulder and below the centre there are two 
wide zones. The upper zone bears a band of vertical lines which are 
delimited, above and below, by a row of crescentic impressions. The 
second zone, below the centre, is decorated with incised criss-cross lines 
and this zone is also delimited, above and below, by a horizontal line of 
crescent-shaped impressions. The central area of the vessel, between these 
broad zones, has four narrow zones; the upper and lower bear a herring- 
bone motif and the two central zones are decorated with short, vertical 
impressions. The surface of the lower body, close to the base, is divided 
into narrow zones which bear similar decoration to that seen on the neck 
and central area of the vessel. 

During the second world war the vessel was on exhibition in the British 
Museum and was damaged as a result of a fire which occurred there 
during that period. The upper body is greatly discoloured and blackened 
and the rim has been repaired with plaster and a strip of flat wire. No 
details are available of its exact find-place in the cemetery. 

Food Vessel No. 1920. 11—9, 3 (Pl.I: 2) 

This vessel measures 11.4 cm. high, 11.1 cm. in diameter at the mouth 
and 5 cm. in diameter at the base. The rim is everted and the internal bevel 
is decorated with a herringbone motif. On the external surface the orna- 
ment on the upper part of the vessel is divided into four zones by means 
of irregular, deeply-scored horizontal lines. The three upper zones bear 
slanting scored lines and the fourth zone is decorated with an incised 
herringbone motif. The globular body is decorated with vertical panels of 
hatched triangles some of which alternate with panels bearing a herring- 
bone motif. The lower body, near the base, is encircled by a horizontal 
zone of herringbone ornament. The ware is reddish-brown in colour. No 
details of the exact find-place of the vessel are available. 

Vessel No. 1920. 11—9, 4 (PI. II) 10 

The circumstances of the discovery of this vessel are described by 
Graves as follows 11 : — “ .... In the course of further investigation (on 
the site of the rath) a five-sided chamber was found, walled in with long 
slabs .... and covered by a large stone. When the latter was removed, the 

10 Illustrated in Later Preh. Antiquities of the British Isles (British Museum, 1953), 
Fig. 5: 4. 

ii JRSAI 2, 1852-53, 298. 

Plate I] 

[To face page 32 

Ballon Hill: Food Vessels Nos. 1 & 2. 

(By courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum) 

Plate II] 

[To face page 33 

Ballon Hill: Vessel No. 3. 

(By courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum) 


cist appeared tilled with sand. A portion of a thin lamellar javelin-head 
or dagger-blade of bronze, lay near the top .... Deeper in the sand was 
found a fictile vessel about the size of a large tea-cup; it contained some 
very small bones . . . .” This is the vessel under consideration. Graves 
further states that “At a greater depth in the sand was found a larger 
urn inverted, of less striking form and ornamental design.” 

The vessel, described as “about the size of a large tea-cup” is 6.7 cm. 
high, 9 cm. in external diameter at the mouth and 3.8 cm. in diameter at 
the base. Although its dimensions would lead one to compare it with 
vessels of the pigmy cup type it displays many of the features of a vase- 
type food vessel. It has an everted splayed rim and a sharp shoulder on 
which there are five imperforate lugs or stops. The internal bevel of the 
rim is decorated with three rows of herringbone impressions. Externally, 
the moulded rim is decorated with a row of short, oblique incised lines. 
The neck bears five groups of arcaded lines; there are six lines in each 
group and the spaces between the lines are filled with short, slanting 
incisions; the groups of arcaded lines terminate at the points on the shoulder 
where the stops or lugs occur. Below the shoulder the arcading is repeated 
and the inter-line spaces are filled with rows of short incised lines — each 
row slanting in an alternate direction to that below it. The overall effect 
is that of herringbone ornament. The vertical lugs at the shoulder are also 
decorated with short incised lines. Close to the base the general scheme of 
ornament is rounded off by three encircling horizontal lines and the spaces 
between them are filled with short, slanting incised lines. No further 
information is available concerning the bronze dagger-like object which 
was found in the cist which contained this vessel nor is it possible to 
identify the larger urn “of less striking form and ornamental design” which 
appears to have been found in the same grave. 

The writer wishes to express his thanks to the Trustees of the British 
Museum for permission to publish this material and to J. W. Brailsford, 
Esq., M.A., F.S.A., and D. M. Wilson, Esq., M.A., of the Dept, of British 
Antiquities who facilitated his researches in that institution. 



By Dom Andrew Gray 
monk of Parkminster 

/COMPARATIVELY little is known, even in the Carthusian Order, of 
our solitary foundation in Ireland in the latter half of the thirteenth 
century: that is to say, from sources within the Order. By reason of the 
many fires that have occurred at the Grande Chartreuse in days gone by 
(it was burnt down at least seven times), such documents as the Order 
must have possessed, especially charters of the General Chapter which 
would have thrown light on the history of this foundation, were destroyed 
or lost in the course of time. The wooden structure of the old Grande 
Chartreuse was particularly susceptible to fire, and many important 
documents must have perished in this way. However, it is known that a 
charter of the General Chapter of 1321 did exist, which mentioned this Irish 
foundation; but every effort to trace this charter today has failed. Dom Le 
Couteulx, the Order’s most reliable annalist, who died in 1709, brought his 
history of the Order down to the year 1429. Under the year 1279 he 
mentions the existence of a house in Ireland, and says that he derived his 
knowledge of this house from a charter of uncertain date which he 
quotes. 1 Dom Transam, on the other hand, who was Prior of the English 
Carthusians at Nieuport in Flanders from 1654 to 1668, refused to believe 
in its existence. 2 As late as the end of the last century Dom Lawrence 
Hendriks, who wrote a history of the London Charterhouse, dismisses 
this Irish foundation with the briefest of references: ‘The Irish Charter- 
house is next in chronological order. Its situation and its founder are 
both unknown. It seems to have been simply an unsuccessful attempt to 

1 Le Couteulx: Annales Ordinis Cartusiensis. 8 vols. (Montreuil, 1887-91). In vol. 
IV, p. 337, under the year 1279, Le Couteulx says: ‘Circa haec tempora Doraum 
habuimus in Hibernia fundatam, cujus primam notitiam eruimus ex vetusto quodam 
Antiquorum Statutorum codice, ad cujus calcem quaedam extant Capitulorum 
generalium ordinationes, inter quas sequens recensetur, quae videtur facta circa 
praesentem annum vel certe ante annum 1300. Sic autem habet: “Concessum est 
Domibus Scalae Dei, Angliae, Sancti Bartholomaei, Hiberniae et Sclavoniae, quod 
Vicarius cum Antiquiore possit confirmare electionem Prioris factam a Conventu, 
si Prior non fuerit in partibus illis qui pro confirmanda electione possit vocari”. 
Quandonam vero, vel a quo aut quo in loco fundata fuerit, omnino me latet; cum 
jam ab annis ferme quadringentis a Nostris penitus fuerit derelicta, ut suo dicemus 

2 Le Couteulx: Annales, vol. V, p. 149, under 1321: ‘Cum ante aliquot annos 
Georgium Transamum, virum religiosum ac doctum, Anglorum Cartusiensium 
Priorem. de hac cartusia consuleremus, ipse nesciens an ea unquam extitisset, 
respondit : “se arbitrari nunquam fuisse cantusiam in hac regione” ’. 



establish the Order in Ireland. It is said to have lasted forty years; but 
all that we know for certain is its suppression by order of the General 
Chapter of 1321’. 3 Miss Margaret Thompson, in her admirable book The 
Carthusian Order in England, devotes little more than a page to its 
history, adding that ‘the circumstances of this Irish foundation and its 
exact locality are unknown’. 4 This is a little surprising, because at the 
time Miss Thompson was writing much more was known. Today we are 
in the happy position to say quite definitely who the founder was, when 
the house was founded (at least within a year or two) and its exact 

None of the native Irish annalists mentions the foundation of a Charter- 
house in the thirteenth century. In 1909-10, J. P. Dalton published three 
excellent articles on ‘The Abbey of Kilnalahan’ in the Journal of the 
Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, and notes the silence of 
earlier Irish historians: ‘Not less remarkable than the fact that the solitary 
Carthusian foundation to which Ireland can lay claim belonged to Kinale- 
kin in the circumstance that its existence has escaped the notice of all the 
compilers of Irish ecclesiastical history. None of the Irish annalists makes 
any reference to it; and none of the later writers appears to have sus- 
pected it’. 5 

In 1654 Sir James Ware published the first edition of his small but 
invaluable volume De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus ejus, in which he notes 
the existence of a priory of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of 
Jerusalem, and a house of Friars Minor at Kinalekin in Co. Galway. 6 
Ware was followed by the French antiquarian, Louis Alemand, who 
copies Ware’s statements, in 1690. 7 8 In 1786 the Irish antiquarian Mervyn 
Archdall published his Monasticon Hibernicum, in which he was able to 
make some use of Ware’s unpublished notes as well as of his published 
work. He mentions a commandery of the Knights Hospitallers and also a 
Franciscan friary at Kinaleghin, and states that this latter house was 
founded before 1325.® We shall see that Archdall’s statements are based 
on a misunderstanding of the evidence available to him in the late 
eighteenth century. None of these three antiquarians mentions the 
existence of a Charterhouse at Kinaleghin, though two of the documents 
cited by Archdall from a manuscript collection of notes on Irish 

3 L. Hendriks: The London Charterhouse (Kegan Paul, 1889), p. 10. 

4 M. Thompson: The Carthusian Order in England (S.P.C.K., 1930), p. 157. 

5 Journal of Galway Arch, and Hist. Soc., VI (1909-10), p. 25. I wish to acknow- 
ledge the help given me by Father Gwynn in working out the bibliography of this 
complicated story. 

6 Ware: De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus ejus (London, 1654). p. 218: ‘Kinalekin: 
Ord. MinorunT. Repeated in second edition (1658). p. 252. See also below, note 42. 

7 Alemand: Histoire Monastique d’lrlande (Paris, 1690), p. 270. An anonymous 
English translation of this work was published in 1722: Monasticon Hibernicum, or 
The Monastical History of Ireland (London, 1722). Alemand’s account of Kilnalekin 
is on p. 281. 

8 Archdall: Monasticon Hibernicum (Dublin, 1786), p. 293. 



ecclesiastical history, known to scholars as King’s Collectanea, certainly 
refer to this house. 

The first clear proof that there had once been a Carthusian priory at 
Kinaleghin is to be found in a bull of Pope Gregory XI, dated 29 July 
1371 and addressed to John O’Grady, archbishop of Tuam. 9 The text of 
this bull was printed in full, though not quite accurately, by Theiner in 
1864. I have been able to see a copy of the original bull, as preserved in 
the Roman archives, and I give here the correct text of the opening 
sentences : 

Exhibita nobis pro parte dilectorum/fratrum ordinis minorum provincie 
Ibernie secundum morem dicti ordinis petitio conti /nebat, quod in Ibemia 
in quodam loco dicto Kenelechin Clonffertensis diocesis, fratres 
ordinis /Cartusiensis quoddam oratorium exile cum paucis cellis olim 
habuerunt, quod iam per triginita/annos est desertum, quodque iidem 
fratres Cartusienses prefatum oratorium sic, ut prefertur,/derelictum et 
desolatum in manibus loci Ordinarii dimiserunt et etiam resignarunt . . . . 10 

This document proves beyond all dispute that a small Carthusian 
foundation existed at a place called (in this text) Kenelechin, in the 
diocese of Clonfert; and that it had been abandoned by the Carthusian 
monks for some thirty years before the date of Gregory XI’s bull. The 
first mention of this new document to appear in print was made by W. H. 
Grattan Flood in a short article which he published in September 1907 
on ‘The Carthusians in Ireland’. 11 Dalton does not mention Grattan 
Flood’s article in his own account of ‘The Abbey of Kilnalahan’ which 
appeared in 1909-10; but he acknowledges the help he had received from 
some notes left by the Irish Franciscan antiquarian. Father R. Browne 
O.F.M., which were then preserved at the Franciscan Fibrary, Merchants’ 
Quay, Dublin. 12 Grattan Flood does not seem to have used Father 
Browne’s notes, but he had communicated with the monks of Parkminster 
in England. They lent him various books on Carthusian history, and with 
this help he wrote a short, but interesting account of the Order’s history 
and of its sole foundation in Ireland. On the history of Kinaleghin priory 
he plainly knew nothing beyond the few facts mentioned in Gregory XI’s 
bull of 1371. 

Dalton’s three articles mark a very real advance. He makes generous 
acknowledgement of help which he Had received from M. J. McEnery, 
one of the ablest scholars in the Irish Public Record Office, who drew 

9 Theiner: Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum et Scotorum (Rome, 1864), p. 343. 
Theiner wrongly gives the name of this priory as Kevelechin, and in the argumentum 
which he prefixes to the document he describes it as being in the diocese of Elphin, 
not Clonfert. 

10 The present Vatican reference is: Reg. Aven. 173, fol. 416v. 

11 W. H. Grattan Flood: ‘The Carthusians in Ireland’, in Irish Eccles. Record, 
Fourth Series, vol. 22 (1907), pp. 304-9. 

12 Dalton, loc. cit. VI, p. 65. 



Dalton’s attention to two important documents which had been calendared 
by H. S. Sweetman in the official Calendar of Documents relating to 
Ireland, and which had escaped the notice of Grattan Flood. In 1877 
Sweetman had calendared the text of letters of protection granted by 
Edward I to the prior, monks and lay brothers (conversi) of the 
Carthusian Order de Domo Dei at Kinaleghin on 27 July 1282. 13 In 1886, 
after Sweetman’s death, the fifth volume of his Calendar appeared, with a 
very full summary of the important papal taxation of the dioceses and 
churches of Ireland, most of which can be dated to the years 1306-7. In 
this taxation the ‘Carthusian prior and convent’ appears as rector of 
Kenaloyn, the valuation being £6 13s. 4d. 14 The same taxation also lists 
a vicarage of Kynaleyn, with a valuation of 27s. 4d.; this vicarage is in the 
same deanery of Dondery, but is distinct from the Carthusian rectory. 
Dalton made use of these two documents to identify the site of this for- 
gotten Carthusian priory, and to show that its history could be traced 
back at least as far as 1282. The latter part of his narrative is concerned 
with the history of the Franciscan friary which was established at 
Kinaleghin in the second half of the fourteenth century. 

Since 1910 no new light has been thrown on the history of this Irish 
Charterhouse until recently, and Miss Thompson’s brief mention shows 
that she was not aware of most of the evidence cited by Dalton in his 
articles. In 1956 Mr. H. G. Richardson discovered a thirteenth -century 
copy of the original foundation charter of this priory in the Public Record 
Office. This new charter proves to be of the greatest value for the history 
of Kinaleghin, and also for the history of some other religious houses in 
the neighbourhood. When Mr. Richardson noticed this document, he 
recognised it at once as a ‘find’ of unusual interest, and sent a photostat 
of the charter to the present writer, who then got into communication 
with Mr. Neville Hadcock and Rev. Professor Aubrey Gwynn, S.J. As a 
result of Mr. Richardson’s discovery, and of information received from 
several scholars, in England and in Ireland, it is now possible to confirm 
the accuracy of Dalton’s identification of the site of this Irish Charter- 
house, and also to fix the date of its foundation within narrow limits. 
The founder’s name was John, son of Richard de Cogan; and he founded 
this priory on a site which is now a small village called Abbey, some 
five miles north of Woodford in the parish of Ballinakill, on the confines 
of the two counties of Galway and Clare. Monastic ruins are still to be 
seen on this site, and views of these ruins were published by Dalton as 
illustrations to his articles. But these are ruins, not of the Carthusian 
priory, but of the Franciscan friary. They date from the late fourteenth 
or fifteenth century. 

13 Cal. Docs. Ireland, II, no. 1942. This document has since been published in 
Calendar of Patent Rolls: Edward I. 

1 4 ibid. V, p. 222. 




First it will be necessary to decide on the form of the name we will 
use to designate the place where this Charterhouse was founded. As 
Dalton points out in his articles, it has been spelt in many ways, which 
is not surprising. In the manuscript description by John O’Donovan, which 
is filed with the Ordnance Survey papers, it is given as Kinalekin\ in 
various earlier records and annals as Kinaleghin, Kenaloyn and so on. 15 
In Gregory XI’s bull it is given as Kenelechin, whilst in the endorsement 
on the back of the newly found charter it is written Kilnaleyhin. All these 
forms are variants of the original Irish name Cinel F(h)eichin, or Tribe 
of Feichin: a name which is still commemorated in the well of Saint 
Feichin, which exists to this day a little to the south of the village of 
Abbey. The name Kilnalahan, by which it has come to be known today, is 
a corruption which has crept in through English documents such as the 
endorsement on our charter, and only appears in this form much later. 
The spelling Kinaleghin occurs in the formal letters of protection which 
Edward I granted to ‘the prior, monks and brethren of the Carthusian 
Order of the House of God (Domus Dei) in Kinaleghin’; and we propose 
to adopt this spelling as being nearest to the original Irish spelling. 

Until the discovery of this new charter, all scholars seem to have 
assumed that the founder of this Charterhouse was either Walter or 
Richard de Burgo, the Red Earl; and the date of the foundation was 
given as c. 1280. Grattan Flood named Richard as the probable founder; 
but Dalton thought it more probable that the Carthusians were brought 
to ‘the de Burgo country’ by Walter, who died in 1271, and that the royal 
letters of protection were granted in 1282 at the request of Richard. 16 
The principal reason for this belief was that the Charterhouse lay in what 
is most certainly de Burgo country; many tombs of the de Burgo family 
are still to be seen in the immediate vicinity of the former priory. But 
that, of course, is no proof; and the claims of Walter or Richard seem to 
have been admitted in the absence of any rival claimant. We now know 
that the founder was John de Cogan, son of Richard; and it would seem 
from the charter that John had already given lands to the Friars Minor 
in Claregalway; thereby bringing the date of the foundation of the 
Franciscan house at Claregalway to some year between 1250 and 1256, 
thirty years before the date commonly given hitherto. 

Our charter not only gives John de Cogan as the founder, but tells us 
which John de Cogan was founder: for there were many of that name. He 
was John, son of Richard de Cogan and of Basilia his wife. We learn also 
that John was married twice: first to ‘Marie’ and secondly to ‘Amia’ or 
Amy, for both of whom he asks prayers. Further, it was the founder’s 
wish that this Charterhouse should be called Domus Dei de Cogans. We 

15 Dalton, loc. cit., VI, p. 19. 

16 Dalton, loc. cit., VI, p. 23. 



learn from Edward I’s letters of protection that the house was in fact 
called Domus Dei\ but the phrase de Cogans does not appear on this or 
any other relevant document that we have been able to trace. 

We now come to the puzzling question of the date of the foundation. 
The endorsement on the back of the charter reads as follows: ‘Datum 
apud Kilnaleyhin. Anno domini M°CC°lx° octavo. Anno regni regis 
Henrici filii Iohannis regis L° primo’. This can be translated: ‘Given at 
Kilnaleyhin in the year of Our Lord 1268, in the 51st year of the reign 
of King Henry, son of King John’. Here we are at once up against a 
problem. By the normal English reckoning, the dominical year and the 
regnal year do not tally. The 51st year of the reign of Henry III ended 
on 27 October 1267, or Michaelmas 1267 in the exchequer year. One 
inference could be that the Carthusians, like some other orders, did not 
follow the mos anglicanus', and that the scribe who wrote this endorsement 
was using the calculus Pisanus, whereby the dominical year was reckoned 
as commencing on the 25th March of the preceding year: in which case 
the date of this endorsement would be between 25 March, 1267 and 27 
October of the same year. 17 But the calculus Pisanus, which survived at 
Pisa to the middle of the eighteenth century, was not used in the papal 
chancery after the middle of the twelfth century, and is excessively rare on 
English documents. It is, therefore, most unlikely that it would be used 
on a document of the mid-thirteenth century concerned with a house in a 
remote corner of Galway; and it seems very much more probable that 
the scribe who endorsed this charter made a mistake in one or other of 
the two ‘years’. 

The date of this endorsement is thus either 1267 or 1268; but the exact 
date is not unduly important, as from internal evidence it appears that the 
endorsement was made some years after the date of the original charter, 
and probably in the time of the founder’s son. The evidence for this 
conclusion turns on the witnesses to the charter, who are named as 
follows: John fitzGeoffrey, then justiciar of Ireland; Maurice fitzGerald; 
Ralph of Norwich, then chancellor of Ireland; John fitzThomas; Richard 
de la Rochelle; Miles Roche; David Roche; and many others. 

Now at least two of these signatories were dead before the year 1267. 
The Annals of Osney and the contemporary Annals of Thomas Wykes 
record the death of John fitzGeoffrey, justiciar of Ireland, ‘about the 
feast of St. Clement [23 November] 1258’; and Matthew Paris adds the 
detail that John died near Guildford in that year. 18 Moreover, John 
fitzGeoffrey, who witnessed the founder’s charter as justiciar of Ireland, 
ceased to be justiciar shortly before 27 June 1256. 19 Maurice fitzGerald, 
who had been justiciar of Ireland from 1232 to 1245, died in 1257 

17 See the Handbook of Dates (1945), pp. 1-6. 

18 Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), vol. IV, p. 122; Matthew Paris, Chronica 
majora (Rolls Series), vol. V, p. 724. 

19 Orpen: Ireland under the Normans, vol. Ill, pp. 13-14. 



according to Matthew Paris under that year. 20 The third witness, Ralph 
of Norwich, was chancellor of Ireland when he witnessed the founder’s 
charter. He was appointed to this office on 9 July 1249, and held Office 
until May 1256, when he became archbishop of Dublin. 21 His place as 
chancellor was taken by John de Broningfeld before June 1257. 22 The 
founder’s charter can thus be dated as later than July 1249 and earlier 
than June 1256. A date c. 1250-56 is reasonable. But the copy which Mr. 
Richardson found recently in the Public Record Office must be somewhat 
later, for both John fitzGeoffrey and Ralph of Norwich are said to have 
been then (tunc) justiciar and chancellor. Since the copy is endorsed 1267 
(or 1268), we may assume that the copy was made at that time, some 
twelve years or more after the date of the original charter. 

Father Gwynn, who has helped me in fixing these dates, has suggested 
that this copy of the charter was made out, not by the founder (dohn I), 
but by his son (John II). We do not know the date of the founder’s 
death; but we know that his son (John II) was dead before 1276, and 
that he had been born in 1243. 23 A re-issue of the founder’s charter in 
1267 or 1268 may very well be connected with the take over of property 
in England and Ireland that followed the death of John I, which may 
perhaps have occurred shortly before 1267. John III, grandson of the 
founder, was still a minor in 1276; but he had come of age shortly before 
22 February 128 1. 24 It was thus the founder’s grandson who obtained 
letters of protection for the prior and monks of Kinaleghin from Edward I 
on 27 July 1282. Two days before that date, John de Cogan, ‘remaining 
on the king’s service in England’, obtained letters of attorney in the Irish 
courts for Richard de Cogan, presumably his kinsman. It was not until 
24 February 1285 that John was granted letters of attorney in England, he 
himself being about by licence to depart for Ireland. 25 


We still have to show which of the many John de Cogans was the 
founder of our Irish Charterhouse. As full a family tree as we have been 
able to put together is given below as Appendix B. For our purposes we 
have called the founder John I. We know that this John had a son (John 
II) and a grandson (John III), particulars of whom are given in Appendix 
B. Of John I all that we know for certain is that he was the son of 
Richard de Cogan; but we are not told whether this Richard was the 
same as Richard, brother of the famous Miles de Cogan, the conqueror of 
Cork. That Richard is mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis as having taken 

20 Matthew Paris, op. cit., vol. V, p. 642. 

21 Cal. Docs. Ireland, I, no. 2998; II, no. 499. 

22 ibid. II, no. 552. 

23 ibid. I, p. 477; II, no. 1279. 

Mibid. II, nos. 1279; 1789. 

2 5 ibid. II, nos. 1941-2; III, no. 21. 



part with his brother Miles in the siege of Dublin in 1171. 26 The interval 
between 1171 and 1250 is too long for us to identify him with the father 
of John I. We know, too, from our charter that the mother of John I was 
named Basilia; and from other sources we know that Basilia was the 
sister of Walter de Ridelsford. 27 We know also that Gerald de Prendergast 
married a Butler (Pincerna), and had an only surviving daughter who 
married (Sir) John de Cogeham or Cogan, who in turn had an only son 
John, born on 8 September 1243. 28 This John, whom I identify as John 
II, inherited one half of Gerald’s lands, and married Juliana, daughter of 
Gerald son of Maurice fitzGerald, the second baron of Offaly. John I 
also had a daughter, named Basilia after John’s mother, who married 
Nicholas son of John de Verdun, and appears to have left issue. 29 

These names and connections by marriage fit perfectly, if we assume 
that the John de Cogeham or Cogan who married the daughter of Gerald 
de Prendergast was our John I. We must further assume that Richard, 
John’s father, was a son or nephew of Richard, the brother of the 
conqueror of Cork. John II, as we have said, had a son John III, who 
was ‘approaching his age’ ( i.e . the age of twenty-one) c. 1280-81, his 
father and grandfather both being dead at this time. 30 John III seems to 
have died c. 1311, and was buried in the church of the Dominican Fathers 
at Dublin. 31 Yet another John de Cogan, who may perhaps have been a 
grandson of John III, is named in the chronicle of the Friars Minor of 
Claregalway, under the date 28 June 1327. This chronicle is no longer 
extant, but Sir James Ware made extracts from it in the early seventeenth 
century. One of these extracts gives the text of a charter by which this 
John, who calls himself Ioannes Magnus de Cogan, fundator monasterii 
et conventus de Clareyrdoule, confirms all previous grants to the Friars 
Minor of Claregalway. 32 It is to this last John, who was evidently a 
lavish benefactor, that the imposing buildings which can still be seen at 
Claregalway are mainly due. That is most probably the reason why this 
John of the early fourteenth century came to be remembered as the founder 
of the friary, though our charter makes it plain that John I had already 
brought the Friars Minor to this site in the middle of the thirteenth 

A problem arises concerning the parentage of the two wives of John I, 
whose names are given in our charter as Maria and Amia. I think that 

26 Giraldus Cambrensis: Expugnatio Hibernica in Opera Giraldi, ed. Dimock 
(Rolls Series), vol. V, pp. 264-5. 

27 Register of St. Thomas, Dublin, ed. Gilbert (Rolls Series), p. 145 (no. CLXX); 
Cal. Docs. Ireland, IV, p. 44. 

28 Cal. Docs. Ireland, I, p. 477. 

29 ibid. II, nos. 181; 1635. 

so ibid. II, no. 1789. 

31 Chartularies of St. Mary’s Abbey. Dublin, ed. Gilbert (Rolls Series), vol. II, 
p. 340. 

32 Lansdowne MS. 418, f. 73; also in T.C.D. MS. F. 4. 23, p. 11. The full text 
has been printed by Father E. B. FitzMaurice and A. G. Little, Materials for the 
History of the Franciscan Province of Ireland (Manchester, 1920), p. 128-9. 



we may safely assume, though we cannot prove the fact, that 
one of these two must have been the daughter of Gerald de Prendergast 
above-mentioned. Mr. Geoffrey Hand, who has been working on Irish 
entries on the Plea Rolls of this period, has sent me an extract from an 
official transcript of a lost Irish Plea Roll of 8 and 9 Edward I. These 
transcripts were made in the early years of last century, and are still 
preserved in the Public Record Office of Ireland, though the original 
Rolls were destroyed in 1922. The extract reads as follows: 

Connach’ 333: Anna que fuit (uxor) Johannis de Cogan optulit se 
(c. 1279-80) (quarto die versus) priorem domus Carthuse de placito 
quod reddet ei terciam partem villarum de Tillodron & 
Dorys et versus Symonem filium Walteri filium Philippi 
de placito quod reddet ei terciam partem villarum de . . . 
glas. Predicti prior et Symon non venerunt &c . . . 

In plain English, this text means that Anna (?Amia), widow of John 
■de Cogan, sought to recover a third of the townlands or vills of Tillodron 
(Tyrloderan) and Dorys (le Deres) from the prior of the Carthusian house 
in Ireland, and a third of some other townlands from Symon, son of 
Walter fitzPhilip. The prior and Symon did not appear on the appointed 
day, and on the fourth day after this Anna appeared and was granted the 
usual award. Both place-names and proper names are often badly copied 
in these official transcripts; but I think we need have no scruple in 
identifying Tillodron with Tyrloderan, Dorys with le Deres, and Anna 
with Amia, all of them names that occur in our charter. A widow was 
entitled by English law to a third of her late husband’s lands in dower 
for her life-time. This extract shows plainly that by its date (c. 1279-80) 
John, the husband of Amia, was dead; and that his widow was seeking 
recovery of her dower from the Prior of Kinaleghin. The recent death of 
her son (or perhaps stepson) John II would make it natural for her to 
seek in this way to establish her legal rights. Once again, all these names 
and dates tie up together, and the position as a whole becomes clearer. 

Three other entries on the official records of the reign of Henry III 
also bear upon our enquiry. The first is taken from the Calendar of 
Charter Rolls, vol. I, p.289, under the date 28 October 1245 (30 Henry 
III), m.ll: “Chester: Grant to John de Cogehan and his heirs of free 
warren in his demesne lands in Kineleyelin and Fhulo.” 

A similar, but very much fuller entry is taken from the same Calendar, 
vol. I, p.412, under date 10 December 1252 (37 Henry III), m.18: 
“Gillingham : Grant to John de Cogan of free warren in his demesne 
lands in Ireland; of a weekly market on Saturday at his manor of Clare, 
and of a yearly fair there . . .; of a weekly market on Thursday at his 
manor of Ardagh in Kineluth’ and of a yearly fair there . . .; of a weekly 
market on Tuesday at his manor of Maysketh in Kynalegham, and of a 
yearly fair there . . .; of a weekly market on Monday at Castle More in 



Desmond and of a fair there . . This same charter seems to have been 
re-issued from Clarendon on 12 December, two days after the grant 
made at Gillingham; and has been calendared by Sweetman in his 
Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. II, p.18. Sweetman took 
his text from the miscellaneous deeds of the Queen’s Remembrancer, 
preserved among the exchequer deeds in the Public Record Office. 

Sixteen years after this last grant, a very similar grant was made to 
John de Cogan, who was almost certainly John II. This grant is dated 12 
December 1268 at Clarendon. It repeats the terms of the grant of 12 
December 1252, and will be found in Sweetman’s Calendar, vol. II, p. 137. 
Since the witnesses are here given in full and belong to the earlier date, 
it seems clear that this grant of 12 December 1268 is in fact no more 
than a re-issue in favour of John II of a grant that had been made 
originally to his father, John I. It will be noticed that the date of this 
re-issue corresponds very closely with the date of the endorsement of our 
newly found charter. About the same time (8 September 1267) John de 
Cogan was granted confirmation of his manors in Devon and Somerset 
at Shrewsbury: see Calendar of Charter Rolls, vol. II p.80, under date 51 
Henry III, m.3. 

These various dates fit into a general scheme as follows. John I had 
plainly established himself in Kinaleghin as early as 1245, when he 
obtained the grant of free warren in his demesne lands there. By 1252 he 
had established himself also at Claregalway and in some other manor 
which has not yet been identified; and he also retained his claim to a 
manor in Desmond. These lands were claimed by John II in 1268, after 
he had already succeeded in establishing his claim to his father’s manors 
in Devon and Somerset in 1267. It would thus seem clear that we have 
been right in assuming that John I had died shortly before 1267. 

One other grant made by a member of the de Cogan family to a 
religious order in this same area should also be mentioned here. On 18 
August 1254 Pope Innocent IV confirmed a grant made by William de 
Cogan to the Cistercian community of Dunbrothy in Co. Wexford. 33 The 
grant was of churches and benefices in Portumna, Leckinelys and 
Muntermolinara. We do not know how close a kinsman of John I was 
this benefactor of the Cistercian monks; but Portumna lies so close to the 
lands held by John I in Kinaleghin that we may presume that the two 
men were members of the same family, and had taken an active share 
in the recent conquest of this part of Connacht. 

To sum up, we have no real evidence as to the date of the death of 
John I. 34 Orpen thinks that he came of age c. 1240, and he certainly took 
part in the conquest of Connacht during these years. Since John II held 

33 Chartularies of St. Mary’s Abbey, vol. II, p. 119. William, son of Miles de 
Cogan, made a grant to the monks of Dunbrothy; as also did Miles himself: ibid, 
vol. II, pp. 190-1. But these charters are of a much earlier date. 

34 John I is almost certainly the John de Cogan who was taken prisoner by Maurice 
fitzGerald in 1264: Orpen, op. cit., vol. Ill, p. 241. 



his lands c. 1267-76, it seems clear that John I was dead by 1266 or 1267. 
John II was dead before September 1276, when his son (John III) was 
still a minor. John III came of age and succeeded in due course to his 
father’s estates c. 1281; and he seems to have died c. 1311. His son Miles 
was killed in the battle of Athenry, when Feidhlimidh O Conchobhair 
won back his kingdom in 1316. John de Cogan, who appears as a founder 
and benefactor of the Friars Minor at Claregalway in 1327, may perhaps 
have been a son of this Miles; but we have no direct evidence as to his 
parentage. Nor have I been able to trace the direct line of John I beyond 
this period. 


It now only remains to speak of the subsequent history of the small 
Charterhouse of Kinaleghin, in so far as we can do so with any degree of 
accuracy. In or about the years 1306-7 a complete new record of the 
ecclesiastical taxation of Ireland was made; and an almost complete copy 
of this record has been preserved in a series of rolls at the Public Record 
Office. The record is divided according to each diocese; and the Carthusian 
priory of Kinaleghin (here spelt Kenaloyn ) appears under the deanery of 
Duniry (Dondery) in the diocese of Clonfert. 35 There were five rectories 
in this deanery, of which the Carthusian priory was one, with a valuation 
of £6 13s. 4d. There were also six vicarages, among the latter being a 
vicarage of Kyncdeyn, with a valuation of £1 7s. 4d. This entry proves 
that the Carthusian monks were still at Kinaleghin in or about the year 
1307, and that their rectorial rights were fairly considerable. 

The monks were still at Kinaleghin in 1310, as we learn from an entry 
from an Irish Pipe Roll (now lost), which was copied into the collection of 
extracts, now preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, under 
the title ‘King’s Collectanea’. 36 It was formerly thought that this very 
valuable collection had been made for the benefit of Archbishop William 
King, who was Archbishop of Dublin from 1703 to 1729; but it is now 
known that the title ‘King’s Collectanea’ is erroneous, and that these 
extracts from Irish official records, many of which have since been lost 
or destroyed, were made by Dr. John Madden, a Dublin antiquarian of 
the late seventeenth century. As a rule Dr. Madden was careful to note 
the source from which he took his entry; but in the first of these two 
entries which concern us here he has not noted his source, but has simply 
noted the date as 1310. It is very probable that he took both entries from 
lost Irish Plea Rolls; and this conjecture can be confirmed for the second 
entry, since Madden has noted that he took this extract from a roll kept 
in the Birmingham Tower of Dublin Castle, and numbered 173. From a list 

33 Cal. Docs. Ireland, V, p. 222. 

36 T.C.D. MS. F. 1. 16, p. 174; Harris: Collectanea (in National Library of 
Ireland), vol. XIII, p. 66. Mr. William O’Sullivan, who is in charge of the 
Manuscript Room in T.C.D., has recently established the true nature of ‘King’s 



printed by the Irish Record Commissioners in their Eighth Report (1818) 
it is known that one of the Plea Rolls for 13 Edw. Ill was numbered 173. 
Madden’s reference can thus be checked for this second entry, and it is 
probable that his first entry was taken from the same source. The first 
entry occurs in King’s Collectanea (T.C.D. MS. F.1.16), p.174, and reads, 
as follows : 

pr: St. Jo: Bpt: Jo: pr: etc custos ter. & h. Jo. de Burgo cujus vidua 
de Kinaleghkyn Joa pet: dotem sibi in Tullahynergyn a pre. pdo. 1310. 
The second entry occurs on the same page, and reads as follows: 

1339 Jo: pr: etc pet: a Jo: f. Jo: de Burgo unam villat: t: in Tullagh 
me Ruskyn de qua Jo : ep. clonfert : injuste & sine Judicio 
deseiss: Jo: Blohely qnd: prior, etc. pdecess: Jo: nunc pr: 6. 
173. 13 Ed. 3. 

These two entries were known to Archdall in the eighteenth century* 
who quotes them from King’s Collectanea, as copied by Walter Harris in 
vol. XIII, p.66 of the Harris Collectanea, now in the National Library 
of Ireland. 37 But Archdall quotes them in a way which has led almost all 
later scholars astray. His error is due in part to an earlier mistake made 
by Sir James Ware in his volume De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus ejus> 


Ware has two entries for Kinalekin, in Co. Galway. The first is of a 
priory of St. John the Baptist of the Knights Hospitallers. The second is 
of a house of Friars Minor. We have seen that the second entry is 
explained by the bull of Gregory XI, which permitted the Friars Minor 
to take possession of the former priory of the Carthusians at Kinaleghin. 
Ware gives no authority for his entry concerning either the Knights 
Hospitallers or the Friars Minor. He is usually well informed, but it is 
not easy to see where he found his authority for the former house. By 
good fortune we still possess a very full register of the central house of 
the Knights Hospitallers in Ireland, the Priory of Kilmainham. This 
register was compiled about the middle of the fourteenth century, some 
thirty years after the date at which the Knights Hospitallers acquired most* 
but not all, of the property that had belonged to the Knights Templars 
before their suppression by order of Pope Clement V. This register has 
been edited by the late Dr. Charles McNeill for the Irish Manuscripts 
Commission, with an excellent historical Introduction. There is no 
mention of any priory at Kinaleghin, and Dr. McNeill is unwilling to 
admit any fully established house of the Order at Kinaleghin. 38 

Ware’s bare statement, backed by no documentary evidence, was 
expanded by Alemand in his Histoire Monastique d’lrlande, which was 
published at Paris in 1690. Alemand wrote without any personal knowledge 

37 Archdall: Monasticon Hibernicum, p. 293. 

38 Registrum de Kilmainham, ed. Charles McNeill (Dublin, 1932), p. vii. Dr. 
McNeill does not discuss the evidence for Kinaleghin in detail, but agrees with a 
French historian of the Knights Hospitallers who finds Archdall’s statements ‘tres 
sujets a caution’. 



of Ireland or of Irish history, but he had the advantage of consulting some 
of the Irishmen who had taken refuge in France during the Jacobite 
wars. His statements are not, therefore, to be dismissed too lightly, though 
they need to be checked, where possible. Writing of ‘Kilnalekin’ in Co. 
Galway, he follows Ware in his statement that a commandery of the 
Knights of Malta was founded here in the thirteenth century; but he adds 
a new detail when he says that this house was founded by the O’Flaherty 
family (par les F lac- Arty, Seigneurs Irlandois). 39 No other house of the 
Knights in Ireland was founded by a native Irish family, and it is thus 
most unlikely that a commandery of the Order was founded at Kinaleghin 
by an O’Flaherty in the thirteenth century, especially in this area. Yet 
Archdall follows Alemand in his account of this commandery, and 
proceeds to cite the two texts which he had found in King’s Collectanea 
as referring to two priors of this commandery, as follows: 40 

‘We find that John was prior in the year 1310; when Joan, widow of 
John de Burgh, sued him as custos of his lands, &c. for her dower 
thereout. John de Blohely was prior; he was succeeded by a third John, 
who sued John de Burgh for a townland in Tullagh M’Ruskyn, of which 
John O’Lean, who was consecrated bishop of Clonfert in the (year) 1322, 
and died A.D. 1336, had unlawfully disseized John de Blohely, pre- 
decessor of John the present prior’. 

Archdall’s rendering of these two extracts is on the whole correct, 
though there seems no reason to assume that there were three successive 
priors of Kinaleghin named John between 1310 and 1339, the date given 
in King’s Collectanea for the second extract. John of the first entry (1310) 
may very well be John de Blohely, who had ceased to be prior before 
1339. John, bishop of Clonfert, who had taken possession of the vill of 
‘Tullagh M’Ruskyn’ must be John (Sean) O Laidhin, who was con- 
secrated bishop on 22 September 1322, and who died on 7 April 1336. 41 
If the date given in King’s Collectanea for the second entry (1339) is 
correct, then John the prior who brought this suit was taking action after 
the bishop’s death. From the scanty records of the diocese of Clonfert 
at this period, it seems probable that the see was vacant for some years 
after Bishop John’s death in 1336. So far the contemporary records 
support Archdall in his interpretation of these two entries; but it is far 
from clear that he is correct in assuming that Prior John of 1310 and 
Prior John of 1339 were acting on behalf of the Knights Hospitallers of 
St. John of Jerusalem. We have seen that the bull of Gregory XI suggests 
that the Carthusian monks had abandoned the site some thirty years 
before the date of the bull (1371). If Prior John in 1339 failed to win his 

39 Alemand: Histoire Monastique d’lrlande, p. 129. In the English translation 
(1722), p. 135, this is rendered: ‘Kilnalekin, Preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers, 
was founded in the thirteenth Century, under the Invocation of St. John Baptist, 
by the Flagharties, Irish Men of Quality'. 

40 Archdall, loc. cit. 

41 Works of Sir James Ware, ed. Harris (Dublin, 1739), vol. I, p. 640. 



action and recover the lands which Bishop John had seized at some 
earlier date, we may perhaps have here the immediate occasion of the 
decision to abandon the Charterhouse; and we should have to conclude 
that some at least of the Carthusian community were still at Kinaleghin 
in 1339. 

A different story is suggested by Le Couteulx, who bases his narrative 
on an authentic document of the year 1306. 42 From his account, it would 
appear that definite negotiations were on foot as early as 1306 for the 
sale of the Charterhouse at Kinaleghin; and that the former priory was 
sold to the Knights Hospitallers in that year. The sale is spoken of as 
having been completed (in perfectione alienationis Domus praedictae 
Hospitali factae) in a document made out by the Prior of St. Giles of the 
Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, and dated at Avignon on Tuesday 
after the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, 1306. 43 None the less, Le 
Couteulx is quite definite in his statement that, though the sale of this 
house is spoken of as completed in 1306, the priory of Kinaleghin was 
still the property of the Carthusian Order for the next fifteen years. It 
was at the General Chapter of 1321 that the Diffinitors decided that the 
Irish Charterhouse should be abandoned. Le Couteulx makes this state- 
ment on the authority of a fragmentary decree of that year, in which the 
English priors were ordered to come to the General Chapter at the 
appointed time (that is, every leap year) and get what they could in rents 
and money from the Irish house, since this house was useless to the 
Order (cum sit inutilis Ordini ). 44 It was further ordained that in future 
no more monks were to be sent to this house, unless perhaps it should 
be necessary to send someone to negotiate the aforesaid exchange (nisi 
forte ad tractandum de praedicta permutatione facienda). 

42 Le Couteulx: Annales, vol. IV, p. 531 f. Under the year 1306, Le Couteulx 
relates a complicated story of a grant to the Grande Chartreuse of a serf and his 
family and goods (of Les Echelles in the Dauphine — there is still the ruins of a 
Preceptory there), which involved the consent of the Knights Hospitallers. Their 
consent was given in view of the recent sale of the Irish Charterhouse. If Sir James 
Ware had seen this or a similar document before 1654, it might perhaps explain his 
statement that there was a priory of the Knights Hospitallers at Kinaleghin; but 
Ware does not cite his evidence for this statement, and Le Couteulx does not give 
the name Kinaleghin. 

42 The full text of this charter is given below in Appendix C. 

44 The official decree or charta of the General Chapter of 1321 is given as follows 
by Le Couteulx, op. cit., vol. V, p. 149: ‘Anno Christianae salutis millesimo 
trecentesimo vigesimo primo, Indictione quarta, Patres Diffinitores optimum ac 
nostro Ordini honestum judicarunt, si cartusia, quam ab annis circiter quadraginta 
in Hibernia erectam vidimus, penitus desereretur. Id patet ex fragmento Chartae 
capitularis, in qua de defectu hujus Domus haec legimus : “Priores Angliae veniant 
ad Capitulum generale statuto tempore (annis videlicet bissextilibus), et de Domo 
Hiberniae extrahant quidquid poterunt in reditibus et pecunia, cum sit inutilis Ordini, 
et hoc faciant de consilio peritorum : nec ulterius mittantur monachi ad eamdem, 
nisi forte ad tractandum de praedicta permutatione facienda”. Cum quibus vero 
fuerit ilia permutatio facienda non habemus, nisi forsan cum Equitibus 
Jerosolimitanis, in quorum gratiam hanc Domum, ante quindecim annos, distractam 
fuisse vidimus, sed, ut ex his conjicere est, sine ullo fructu aut effectu; quam tamen 
circa istud tempus sortitam fuisse verisimile est: nulla enim posthac de eadem 
cartusia mentio inter Nos facta est’. 

Plate III] 

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Charter of Kinaleghin Priory. 

(for endorsement see reverse) 

Plate Ilia] 

[To face page 49 

Endorsement on Kinaleghin Charter. 



What is the exchange ( permutatio ) referred to in these last words? Le 
Couteulx tells us expressly that he had only a fragment of the charta of 
1321 before him when he wrote: Id patet ex fragmento Chartae 
capitularis in qua de defectu hujus Domus haec legimus. Without the full 
text we cannot know for certain what this praedicta permutatio can have 
been. Le Couteulx thinks that the delayed sale to the Knights Hospitallers 
is in question; and he may well be right. The absence, however, of any 
mention of a priory or commandery of the Knights Hospitallers in the 
register of Kilmainham, which seems to have been compiled about the 
middle of the fourteenth century and which has entries as late as 1349, 
makes it probable that the Knights Hospitallers did not in fact ever gain 
possession of this house. Prior John, who was seeking to recover the vill 
of ‘Tullagh M’Ruskyn’ from the bishop in 1339 was certainly seeking to 
recover lands that had formerly belonged to the Charterhouse of 
Kinaleghin. The fragmentary decree of 1321 makes it plain that this 
house, though now useless to the Order, had not yet been wholly 
abandoned; and Prior John was probably seeking to clear up the legal 
position, possibly with a view to the exchange or sale which is mentioned 
in the decree of 1321. 

Dalton has put forward a theory of his own in the second of his 
articles on the ‘Abbey of Kilnalahan’. He suggests that the Knights 
Hospitallers of Kilmainham became owners of the rectorial rights of the 
former Charterhouse, whilst the Friars Minor got possession of the lands 
and buildings. In his third article he states his view more clearly : 45 ‘At 
Kinalekin, as in other places, the prior of the Hospital — assuming that a 
residential preceptory was founded there by the Knights — can have been 
little more than the manager of the local estates of the wealthy Kilmain- 
ham community . . . But as rectors of Kinalekin the Knights — whether 
resident or non-resident — were under legal obligation to the bishop of 
Clonfert to provide for the spiritual ministrations of the district 
ecclesiastically connected with the rectory — the district, it may be pre- 
sumed, now included in the parish of Ballinakill — and it is highly probable 
that the Knights discharged this obligation by employing the Franciscan 
friars of the local community as their vicars’. This theory is most 
ingenious, but there is no documentary evidence of any kind to support 
it; and the absence of any mention either of a commandery or a rectory 
of Kinaleghin in the Kilmainham register seems good reason for believing 
that the sale, which was thought to be complete in 1306, was never 
effective. All that we can say for certain is that officially, as a House of 
the Order, the Carthusian settlement in Ireland came to an end in 1321. 

What happened to the monks? We cannot say; but in all probability a 
few of the younger ones would have been transferred to other houses of 
the Order, whilst the rest, doubtless too old or too infirm to make a 
change or to undertake so arduous a journey, would have remained on 

45 Dalton, loc. cit., VI, pp. 188-9. 




at Kinaleghin, until the last of them disappeared (according to Gregory 
XFs bull) in or about the year 1341, when the poor priory was, at last and 
finally, deserted, and taken over by the diocese. Sometime after 1371 and 
before 1400, the buildings passed into the hands of the Franciscans, and 
the very memory of the all too brief occupation of Kinaleghin by the 
Carthusian monks disappeared completely from Irish history. The with- 
drawal of the Carthusians was part of the general decline of English (or 
French) influence west of the Shannon after the shock given to the 
English power by Bruce’s invasion of Ireland. 





UNIVERSIS sancte matris ecclesie filiis ad quos presens scriptum per- 
venerit JOHANNES de COG AN filius bone memorie Ricardi de Cogan 
salutem eternam in Domino./ Noverit universitas vestra me dedisse et 
concessisse et hac presenti carta mea confirmasse deo et beate marie et 
sancto Johanni baptiste et omnibus sanctis et ORDINI CARTUS1E/ 
villam que vocatur TYRLODERAN cum pertinenciis suis et 
TULACHMACRUSTIN cum pertinenciis suis, salva una marca que 
redditur domino archiepiscopo Teuamensi/ annuatim pro redditu, et 
piscariam de lacu qui vocatur LOVCULLENAN et totam partem meam 
de lacu qui vocatur LOVDERGERTH, una cum le DERES cum/ 
pertinenciis suis excepto tenemento Willelmi Dundouenold quod de me 
tenet in feudo. Concessi eisdem tres quarteras de TOMNES excepto hoc 
quod retinui in/meum dominicum sicut perambulate sunt et mensurate 
et divise inter CARMERRUN et meum dominicum, et aquam de 
MOYSCETH conducere per mediam terram dominici/ mei ad domum 
suam si viderint expedire fosso vel conductu, sine revocatione a me vel 
heredibus meis. Decetero et concessi eisdem totam partem meam quedam 
insule/ in villa de CLARE adiuncto curtilagio Roberti Vicarii in australi 
parte fratrum minorum ex opposite cum sex acris prati inter nemus de 
CARNAV ex occidentali parte et lacum qui/ vocatur LOVHORPS, ad 
faciendam et construendam domum in honore dei et beate marie et beati 
Johannis baptiste et omnium sanctorum in loco quern volo appellari 
do/mus dei de cogans. Ut sit mea et heredum meorum libera, pura et 
perpetua elemosina. Ut sint ibidem deo servientes monachi et conversi 
or/dinis cartusie pro salute anime mea et animarum Ricardi patris mei 
et Basilidis matris mee et pro salute animarum marie uxoris mee et 
Amye/uxoris mee et pro salute anime Ricardi de Burgo et aliorum 
dominorum meorum quibus teneor, et pro salute animarum omnium 
puerorum meorum et antecessorum et suc/cessorum meorum et omnium 
amicorum secundum modum et disposicionem ordinis cartusie. 
HABENDAS ET TENENDAS sibi et successoribus suis in perpetuum 
libere, quiete, in pur /am et perpetuam et liberam elemosinam cum 
omnibus libertatibus et liberis consuetudinibus libere elemosine 
pertinentibus quas ego dare possum et warantizare et quod circumferencia 
terminorum suorum talem habeat integritatem quod nullus preter ipsos 
infra terminos suos proprium habeat vel commune. Et quod pos/sint 
omnes terminos suos et possessiones suas includere muro, hayo, fossato 
vel quocumque modo sibi viderint expedire et clausos pacifice possidere 
in perpe/tuum. Et quod deforestati sint et dewarennati et liberi ab omni 
gravamine forestam meam vel warennam tangente. Concessi eisdem quod 
habeant/ pasturam ad omnia animalia sua in montanis terminis suis 
adiunctis ubi ego habeo pasturam. Et si quareram in montanis invenerint 



vel lapides mo /lares vel marleram vel minam ferri licet eis fodere et ad 
domum suam libere transferre. Et quod habeant omnes libertates et 
liberas consuetudines ordini suo/ pertinentes quas ego dare possum sicut 
in priore eligendo et in aliis rebus infra eorum clausuram provenientibus. 
Sint etiam liberi a summonicionibus, attachiamentis / namiorum 
capcionibus, curiis, sectis, querelis et demandis que ad me et heredes 
meos pertinent et omnibus causis et placitis et secularibus exaccionibus 
que eis et hominibus suis/ accidere possint per terram suam michi et 
heredibus meis pertinentibus. Sint etiam liberi et quieti a theolonio, 
paagio, passagio per totam terram meam et villas meas/ et de omnibus 
consuetudinibus et de omni questu peccunario de omnibus suis propriis. 
Et volo ut habeant et teneant omnes racionabiles donaciones tenentium/ 
meorum quas eis conferre voluerint in elemosina ita libere et quiete sicut 
ulla elemosina liberius et quietius teneri et haberi potest. Et licet processu 
temporis/ aliqua libertatum aliquo casu contingente usi non fuerint liceat 
eis nichilominus ea libere uti non obstante eo quod ante usi non fuerant. 
Ego vero JOHANNES de CO/GAN et heredes mei warantizabimus deo 
et beate marie et beate Johanni baptiste et omnibus sanctis et ordini 
cartusie et monachis et fratribus predictis, omnia predicta, scilicet: 
pertinenciis, et piscariam de LOVCULLENAN, le DERES cum 
pertinenciis et piscariis, le TOMNES cum pertinenciis, et aquam/ de 
MOYSCETH et insulam de CLARE cum prato, contra homines et 
feminas defendemus de omnibus serviciis et consuetudinibus nominatis. 
Et ut hec mea / donacio, concessio et confirmacio perpetue firmitatis 
robur optineat, presentem cartam impressione sigilli mei roboravi. Si 
quis autem contra hanc donacionem meam/ venire vel earn perturbare 
seu diminuere presumpserit, iram omnipotentis dei et meam malediccionem 
incurrat, quo ad condignam satisfaccionem pervenerit./ HIIS TESTIBUS: 
Domino Johanne filio Gaifridi, tunc justiciario Hibernie; Domino Mauricio 
filio Geraldi; Domino Radulpho de Norwiz, tunc cancellario Hibernie; 
Domino Johanne/ filio Thome; Domino Ricardo de Rupella; Domino 
Meylero de Rupe; Domino David de Rupe; et multis aliis. 

ENDORSED : Datum apud Kilnaleyhin. Anno domini M°CC°lx° octavo. 
Anno regni regis Henrici filii Johannis regis L° primo. 


TO ALL SONS OF HOLY MOTHER CHURCH to whom the present 
writing may come, I, JOHN de COGAN, son of Richard de Cogan of 
happy memory, eternal greetings in the Lord. KNOW ALL OF YOU 
that I have given and granted, and by this present charter confirmed, to 
God, Blessed Mary, Saint John the Baptist and all the saints, and to the 
Carthusian Order, the townland which is called TYRLODERAN with its 
appurtenances; TULACHMACRUSTIN with its appurtenances (saving 
one mark rendered yearly to the archbishop of Tuam as rent); the fishing 
rights on the lake called LOUGH CULLENAN, and the whole part of 



my part of the lake called LOUGH DERG, together with the DERRIES 
and its appurtenances (with the exception of the holding of William 
Dundonold, who holds that of me in fee). I HAVE GRANTED THEM, 
moreover, three quarters of TOMANY, with the exception of what I 
have retained as my own demesne, as perambulated, measured and 
bounded between CARMERRUN and my demesne. And (I grant them) 
(the right) to lead water from MAYSKETH to their House by a ditch 
or conduit through my demesne, if they find it expedient, without (right 
of) revocation on my part or on the part of my heirs. Further, I have 
granted them the whole of my part of a certain island in the townland of 
CLARE that adjoins the curtilage of Robert the vicar, to the south of 
the FRIARS MINOR opposite, with six acres of meadow between the 
wood of CARNAV (or Camau) on the west and the lake called LOUGH 
CORRIB; to make and construct a house in honour of God, Blessed 
Mary, Blessed John the Baptist and all the saints, in a place which I 
wish to be called Domus Dei de Cogans; that it may be held of me and 
my heirs in perpetuity in pure and free alms (frankalmoin). That the 
servants of God, the monks and lay brothers of the Carthusian Order 
may be there serving God for the welfare of my soul and of the souls 
of Richard my father and Basilia my mother, and for the welfare of the 
souls of Mary my wife and Amy my wife; and for the welfare of the 
soul of Richard de Burgo and of my other lords whose tenant I am; 
and for the souls of my children, my forefathers and descendants; and 
of all my friends, according to the manner and custom of the Carthusian 
Order. TO HAVE AND TO HOLD to themselves and their successors 
in perpetuity freely and quietly in pure perpetual and free alms, with all 
the liberties and free customs appertaining to frankalmoin, which I can 
grant or warrant. And that the limits of their boundaries shall be so 
safeguarded that no one but they shall have proprietary rights or rights 
of common within their boundaries. And that they may enclose all their 
boundaries and possessions by a wall, hedge, dyke or in such manner 
as they may deem expedient, and possess the enclosed lands peaceably in 
perpetuity. And that they shall be exempted from forest and warren, and 
free from any burden affecting my forest or warren. I have granted them 
that they may have pasture for all their beasts in the hills adjoining their 
boundaries, where I have right of pasture. And should they find a 
quarry in the hills or millstones or marlpit or iron-ore, they have licence 
to dig for them and transport them to their house freely. And that they 
shall have all the liberties and free customs appertaining to their Order 
such as I can give them : for example, in the matter of the election of the 
prior and in other matters arising within their cloister. They shall also be 
free from all summonses, attachments, taking of pledges, suit of court, 
plaints and demands, so far as myself and my heirs are concerned; and 
from all causes and pleas (i.e. actions at law) and secular exactions (i.e. 
taxes etc.) affecting me and my heirs, which might happen to them or 
their men by reason of their land. They shall also be free and quit of 



all tolls, payage and passage throughout my land and townlands, and 
from all customs (i.e. dues) and monetary demands in respect of all 
their own property. And I will that they shall have and hold all 
reasonable gifts from my tenants that they may wish to confer on them 
by way of alms, as freely and quietly as any alms can be had and held. 
And should they in the course of time from any cause whatsoever not 
have used any of the liberties, nevertheless they shall be free to use them, 
notwithstanding that they have not hitherto done so. WHEREFORE, I, 
JOHN de COGAN, and my heirs will warrant to God, Blessed Mary, 
Saint John the Baptist and all the saints, and to the Carthusian Order 
and the aforesaid monks and lay brothers, all the aforesaid, namely: 
TYRLODERAN and its appurtenances; TULLACHMACRUSTIN and 
its appurtenances; the fishery of LOUGH CULLENAN; the DERRIES 
and its appurtenances and fisheries; TOMANY with its appurtenances; 
the water of MAYSKETH and the island of CLARE with its meadow; 
against all men and women, and we will protect them from all the 
services and customs named. And that my gift, grant and 
confirmation may stand for ever, I have confirmed this present 
charter with the impression of my seal. And, moreover, should anyone 
in opposition to this my gift, presume to do anything or disturb or 
lessen it in any way, they shall incur the anger of God and my curse, 
until they have made appropriate satisfaction. To which the following 
bear witness : 

John fitzGeoffrey, then justiciar of Ireland; 

Maurice fitzGerald; 

Ralph of Norwich, then chancellor of Ireland; 

John fitzThomas; 

Richard de la Rochelle; 

Miles Roche; 

David Roche, and many others. 

ENDORSED: Given at Kilnaleyhin. A.D. 1268, in the 51st year of the 
reign of King Henry, son of King John. 

Note: For this section, I must express my indebtedness to the Secretary of 
the Irish Place Names Commission, and to the Rev, Patrick Egan, C.C., of 

The various lands named in the charter fall into two main groups, 
the one near the place of the foundation, namely Abbey; the other in the 
vicinity of Claregalway. In the first group we have: 

1. Tyrloderan. Unfortunately we have not been able to trace this 
particular form of some place-name which has ‘Tir’ (land or country) as 
its first element. The name Lisloderane occurs in the Book of Survey and 
Distribution for Co. Galway (c.1666), fo.91, no.137, in the form 
Lishludderane, and can be equated with the modern Lisdurra or Eagle 
Hill, both close to Abbey. 



2. Tulachmacrustin we have only found in Archdall’s Monasticon (see 
p. 47). It could be equated with Tulla ( Tulctch meaning a hill or hillock) 
or Tully ( Book of Survey and Distribution, fo.89/147) now Cappagh, 
both 2 to 3 miles south of Abbey. The name Tullachmachrusglaynd 
occurs in a fifteenth century document in connection with tithes which 
formed part of the ‘community of the church of Clonfert’ which one 
correspondent connects with the modem parish of Ballinakill. 

3. Lovcullenan we cannot trace, although it is not impossible that it 
may refer to the small lake at Ballinlough. 

4. Lovdergerth is Lough Derg (Ir. Loch Dercderc — see Hogan’s 
Onomasticon Goedelicum, 497b — 498a). 

5. Le Deres is undoubtedly Ir. Doire, an oakwood, very common in 
Irish place-names, and anglicised as Derry. In view of the spelling Dorys 
in the transcript referred to on p. 43, le Deres could be Dooros on Lough 
Derg, about 1\ miles (direct) south-east of Abbey, a famous fishing centre 

6. Tomnes is undoubtedly the present Tomany, of which there are 
three townlands in Ballinakill parish: Tomany More, Tomany Beg, and 
T omany nambraher . 

7. Carmerrun we cannot trace. It could be equated with Carrowcrin, 
since the Tomany country stretches along the Duniry river to Carrowcrin. 

8. Moysceth, unfortunately, we cannot trace, though we know from the 
Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland (see p.43) that it was ‘in 

9. Clare is, of course, Claregalway. The islands mentioned in the charter 
may be taken as the little islands in the Claregalway river which lie 
immediately to the south of the Franciscan convent. 

10. Carnav or Carnau, as it stands, we cannot trace. ‘Carnan’ means a 
pile of stones, and we find such names as Carnmore etc. in this area (i.e. 
in the neighbourhood of Claregalway). 

11. Lovhorps is Lough Corrib — see Hogan, op. cit., 503b. (Loch 

The general picture is thus of lands in the immediate vicinity of Abbey, 
with fishing rights on a small lake called Lough Cullenan, as well as on 
John de Cogan’s share of Lough Derg; and other lands more vague in 
the neighbourhood of Claregalway. Whether it was the founder’s intention 
that the Domus Dei de Cogans should be at Kinaleghin must, in the 
absence of further evidence, always remain uncertain. That the Charter- 
house was at the place we now know as Abbey is, I think, abundantly 

The grantor’s object was clearly to make the conveyance as free from 
restrictions as possible; though, in this, he could not bind his superior 
lords, who appear to have been Richard de Burgo and the king. The only 
tenant who is named in the charter is William Dundonald, who held his 
lands of John de Cogan in fee. 



Appendix B 


Note : The letters refer to the volumes listed below ; the numbers to the pages 
in those volumes. 

Miles de Cogan 
d. 1182—1.148 


I I 

William — G.191 Margaret 

gave lands etc. ■ — G.4 ; widow 

to Portumna ; of Ralph 

confirmed by fitzStephen 

Innocent IV 1254 — 1.152 

— G.119 j 

— had a brother John (of Bath) — F.70 
and another brother 

living c. 1171— G.269 

RICHARD II — m. Basilia, sister of Walter de 
Ridelsford — H.145 & D.44 


m. i. Thos. Bloet and 
ii. Patrick de 
Courcy — 1.152 

I I 

Geoffrey Miles JOHN 

killed —1.142 

before 1250 
-1.138 & B.19 

m. i. Marie\ 
ii. Amie / 

I — took part in conquest of Connacht 
c. 1235 ; granted free warren at 
Kinaleghin 1245 ; market in Clare- 
galway & Maysketh in Kinaleghin 
1252 — B.18 ; retained in England by 
the king 1252 (Dec.) — B.19. Founder 
of Friars Minor at Claregalway, and 
of Carthusians at Kinaleghin c. 1252. 

— one of these must have been the 

daughter and heiress of Gerald de 
Prendergast — A. 477 ; and half-sister 
of Matilda, wife of i) Maurice de 
Rochford, and ii) Maurice fitz- 
Maurice. — 1.199 & 244 


Basilia— B.28 JOHN II 

m. Nicholas, son of b. 8.9.1243 — A.477 

John de Verdun — B.332 m. Juliana, daughter of Gerald, son of Maurice 

( See note below). fitzGerald (2nd Baron of Offaly) — 1.215 & K.129 ; 

she was still living in 1290 — C.363 ; 
obtained letters of protection to proceed to Ireland 1267 — 
B. 1 34 ; confirmed Carthusian charter the same year ; received 
grant of markets in Ireland 1268 — B.137 ; 
d. before September 1276 — B.231. 



came of age c. Feb. 22, 1280-1 — B.376 ; obtained letters 
of attorney for Richard de Cogan during his (John’s) 
absence in England 1282 (July 25) — B.443 ; and of 
protection for Carthusians in Ireland 1282 (July 27) — 
B.443 ; letters of protection for one year, staying in 
England 1284 (Sept. 1) ; and the like, going to Ireland, 
1285 (Feb. 24)— Pat. Rolls, 12 Ed. I. m5, 
and C.19. 

d. 1311 and buried in church of 
Dominican Fathers in Dublin — G.340 

Miles— K. 192 

Orpen calls him John Ill’s ‘ son and heir ’ ; 
killed at battle of Athenry, 10 Aug., 1316 

Richard III 
held letters of 
attorney in Ireland 
for John III in 1282 

Note : Under the year 1253, B.28 refers to the heirs of Gerald de Prendergast 
‘ born of the daughter of John de Cogan ’ (I) — i.e. of Basilia ; it would seem, therefore, 
that the line was continued in that direction. 



Volumes consulted and referred to in the foregoing Tree of the de Cogans 
Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, ed. Sweetman. 

A. vol. 1—1171-1251 ; 

B. vol. 2-1252-1284 ; 

C. vol. 3-1285-1292 ; 

D. vol. 4-1293-1301 ; 

E. vol. 5-1302-1307. 

F. Chartularies of St. Mary’s Abbey, Dublin, vol. I ; 

G. ditto : vol. II ; 

H. Register of St. Thomas Abbey, Dublin ; 

I. Orpen : Ireland under the Normans, vol. Ill ; 

K. ditto : vol. IV. 

Other ‘ de Cogans ’ whom we cannot connect with the foregoing : 

Geoffrey I, c. 1175-1180 : witnessed charter from Gilbert, archbishop of Armagh 
(1175-1180)— F. 141. 

Walter, temp, end of 12th century : witnessed charter of Richard de Cogan re 
Caprach — F.71. 

Eustace I : witnessed grant from Geoffrey fitzOdo— H.226. 

Michael, c. 1251 : held lands of Gerald de Prendergast — A.476. c. 1282 : father of 
‘ John de Cogan ’ — B.427. 

Patrick, c. 1280-5 : (of Cork)— B.360 and C.53. 

Henry, c. 1288-1301 : letters of attorney for — C.220 and D.387. c. 1301-2 : called 
to arms against Scotland by the king — E.19. c. 1303 : letters of attorney 
for— E.93. 

Gyle, c. 1290 : (she) takes out a writ of mort d'ancestor — C.307. 

Eustace II, c. 1301 : juror at Cork — D.364. 

Geoffrey II, c. 1301 : (of Cork) — D.373. c. 1301-2 : called to arms — E.19. 

John, c. 1282 : ‘ son of Michael ’ — B.427. c. 1290 : petition of ‘ John de Cogan of 
Ireland’ — C.306. c. 1301-2: called to arms — E.19. c. 1302: (of Cork) — E.37. 

David, c. 1301-2 : ‘ son of John de Cogan ’ — called to arms — E.19. 




(Le Couteulx: Annales, vol. IV, p. 531, foil.) 

Agitur de Derelictione Dom. Hiberniae 

Non ex cupiditate multiplicandae gentis nostrae fundationem hanc Patres recep- 
erunt, qui eodem tempore cartusiam in Hibernia ab aliquot annis jam erectam, sed 
in qua nostrarum legum perfecta observatio propter loci disiantiam et alias rationes 
periclitabatur, penitus deserere voluerunt, ut discimus ex veteri Majoris Cartusiae 
Cartulario. Cum enim hoc anno ‘vir nobilis Ysoardus de Cou Matri Cartusiae in 
eleemosynam dedisset quemdam hominem ligium (prout habet Instrumentum) et 
talliabilem ac explectabilem ad misericordiam Domini, una cum ejusdem hominis 
Liberis, haeredibus et universa ejus posteritate et servitio ac reditibus per ipsum 
hominem eidem Ysoardo debitis; rogassetque religiosum virum dominum fratrem 
Bernardum de S. Mauritio castellanum et Praeceptorum domus Hospitalis Scalarum, 
de cujus feudo erant hie homo et alia bona ejus data et concessa, ut hujusmodi 
donum et eleemosynam laudaret et confirmaret, ac Domum Cartusiae de praedictis 
investiret: annuit Bernardum Ysoardi precibus, sed visa prius licentia a Priore S. 
Aegidii obtenta in gratiam venditae cartusiae Hibernicae. Sic autem loquuntur literae 
confirmationis, quae et licentiae Instrumentum complectuntur : Anno Dom. MCCC 
sexto, Indictione quanta, sexto Idus Augusti, apud Scalas in domo superius, in castro 
et in domo Capituli, religiosus vir Domnus frater Bemardus de S. Mauritio 
castellanus et Praeceptor Domus Hospitalis Scalarum, de consensu et voluntate 
fratrum Conventualium dictae Domus Hospitalis et in ipsa Domo residentium, 
videlicet Domni fratris Petri de Cerveria militis, fratris Girardi de Cordone, F. 
Nicolai de Geri, F. Johannis Gorgi, F. Johannis de Fontana, F. Guigonis Mayllesi, 
Fr. Guigonis de Eschallone, F. Guillelmi Rat et F. Pontii Payrol, sibi lectis et 
diligenter intellects omnibus supradictis (his nempe quae de Ysoardi eleemosyna 
agebant), visa etiam quadam litera sana et integra, sigillo venerabilis viri Dom. 
Prioris S. Aegidii prioratus impendent sigillata, cujus literae tenor talis est: 
Noverint universi quod nos Fr. Dragonetus de Monte Dragono humilis Prior 
S. Aegidii Hospitalis S. Joannis Jerusalem, de consilio Fratrum nobis assistentium, 
attendentes devotionem et dilectionem quam Domus et Fratres Cartusiensis Ordinis 
erga Domum Hospitalis longo tempore habuerunt, et gratiam etiam Hospitali 
factam super venditione Domus eorumdem quam habebant in Ybernia; necnon 
consideratione habita ad laborem quern F. Bartholomaeus (clericus redditus 
Cartusiae) Ordinis praedicti habuit in perfectione alienationis Domus praedictae 
Hospitali factae: concedimus de gratia speciali eidem F. Bartholomaeo et per 
ipsum Domui Cartusiensi, quod ipsa Domus quocumque justo titulo Johannem . . . 
et ejus familiam acquirere valeat et habere cum omnibus juribus ejusdem, non 
obstante quod Petrus de Cou ejusdem Johannis quondam Dominus et post eum 
ejus haeredes, jus quod habent in dicto Johanne a dicto Hospitali immediate 
teneant . . . Datum Avinione die Martis post Nativitatem B. Johannis Baptistae, 
anno MCCC sexto. 

Praedictam donationem laudat et confirmat nomine dictae Domus Hospitalis et 
nomine suo et successorum suorum in eadem, et de consensu et voluntate Fratrum 
praedictorum etc. Horum omnium testes fuerunt : F. Aymo de Augusta Prior Domus 
Calesii, Dom. Jacobus de Combis capellanus et curatus de Corbello, Guillemetus 
Senorati de Cartusia, Johannetus donatus (dedititius cliens) Guillelmi dicti Perdris, 
■et alii’. 


By Michael Quane 


Until the nineteenth century, the members of the Religious Society of 
Friends or Quakers living in and around Mountmellick formed ‘the 
most important Quaker centre in Ireland outside Dublin’. 1 In 1656 there 
were only two Quaker families, who had recently come out of England, 
in this area. 2 In 1659, these two families and several who had been ‘con- 
vinced thereabouts some time before’ were joined by William and John 
Edmundson, Richard Jackson, John Thompson, William Moon, John 
Pirn, and other Quakers, who, with their families, had migrated from 
County Cavan. 3 According as the exile or transplantation of the Irish 
proceeded under the Cromwellian Act of Settlement, Quaker colonies 
were then developing at Moate, Ballinakill, Newgarden (Carlow), Athy, 
Edenderry, and elsewhere in mid-Leinster, but the group at Mountmellick 
advanced more successfully than any of the others, largely because of the 
stimulation and astute leadership of William Edmundson. 4 The state of 
the central part of Ireland in 1655, a year before Edmundson first passed 
through it, is described by the Quaker preacher, Francis Howgill, who, 
on his journey to Munster, went 

“into the heart of the nation, about fifty miles from Dublin, through 
deserts, woods and bogs, and the desolatest places that ever any did I 
think behold, without any inhabitant except a few Irish cabins here and 
there, who are robbers and murderers that lives in holes and bogs where 
none can pass”. 5 

From this time however the appearance of the eastern and central parts 
of the country was being changed by the ‘many thousands of English, 
Welch, Scots, with some Dutch that yearly Transported themselves hither 
to Plant, diligently applying themselves all over Ireland to Tillage, and 
breeding of all sorts of Cattle (with a competent proportion whereof the 
whole Country became in a few years indifferently well Planted; though 
not with a sufficient number of people to inhabit the same, which are 
still wanting and will be so for many years to come)’. 6 Since the Quakers 
‘were comparatively well treated under the Cromwellian regime’, 7 by 
their thrift and industry they distinguished themselves from the outset 
from amongst the heterogeneous mass of newcomers seeking fortune in 
Ireland through the many avenues available to them and their kind under 
the operation of the Act of Settlement. 8 After the restoration of Charles 
II, the condition of the Quakers in Ireland, in relation to the government, 
improved very considerably in contrast to the state of their brethren in 



England and in the American colonies. Both the Earl of Orrery (Roger 
Boyle) and the Earl of Mountrath (Charles Coote), the two most power- 
ful and influential members of the new ascendancy, were favourably 
disposed towards them, 9 and such ‘Sufferings’ as they experienced in this 
reign were almost solely from the hands of the clergy of the established 
church in connection with the exaction of tithes and other ecclesiastical 
charges. In 1662 on the appointment of Rev. George Ciapham to the 
vacant incumbency of Rosenallis, Protestant Episcopal services, which 
had been interrupted for some years were resumed in the parish. William 
Edmundson and Mr. Ciapham were mutually antipathetic and he was 
relentless in distraining, imprisoning and otherwise disabling the Quaker 
residents in his parish. 10 Under the example and inspiration of William 
Edmundson, Quaker opposition to tithes became widespread from that 
time. The year, 1662, is marked by Quakers in Ireland as that in which 
‘we first became a people’, it also marks the development of their 
strenuous and sustained opposition to tithes, culminating in a decision 
in 1680 ‘that refusal to pay tithe would be a distinguishing mark of 
Quakers in Ireland . . . After that, any Friend known to have allowed 
anyone to pay tithe for him was publicly condemned and excluded from 
the Men’s Meeting’. 11 

The passing of the Toleration Act in 1689, enabling Quakers to hold 
their meetings without interference., indicated their increasing influence, 
deriving directly from their increasing affluence. William Edmundson 
took full advantage of the improved political status of the Quaker com- 
munity after the accession of James II: 

“In those times I was much at Dublin, applying to the Government in 
behalf of the Country, for the Lord had given Friends Favour with the 
Government, and they would hear my Complaint, and gave forth several 
Orders to Magistrates and Officers of the Army, to suppress Raparees, 
and restrain their Abuses, and they stood in awe of me, for they knew 
I had an Interest with the Government. I was sometimes with King 
James, and told him of the Calamity the Protestants were under in the 
Country and Lie would hear me quietly . . .”. 12 

This familiar association with the work of Government, coupled with their 
known ease of access to King James during his stay in Dublin, would tend 
to support the commonly accepted report that the Quakers in Ireland 
gave him substantial aid towards his venture in this country. 13 

The temporal welfare of the Quakers here was somewhat disrupted 
during the short, and, for the Irish, disastrous Williamite War. Many left 
the country never to return, but for those who remained recovery was 
rapid. An offer of assistance from the Quaker Meeting for Sufferings in 
London was declined by the Half-Yearly Meeting of Quakers here in 
1689. A similar offer in 1692 was accepted but the London Meeting was 
‘withal desired that a full stop be put to their sending any more’. On 
the termination of the war ‘there suddenly succeeded [for the Quakers in 
Ireland] a time of great plenty after a wonderful manner, beyond what 


could be expected; and stock and trade increased mightily, and the time 
of getting great riches came on, as the time of great losses had been 
experienced before, and many too eagerly pursued them; and too many 
of our Society were concerned therein, which has proved very injurious 
upon several accounts, and especially to Friends Children, who perceiving 
their parents Fullness, and relying thereupon, grow conceited and sinical, 
many of them giving way to Idleness . . . ,’ 14 

Joseph Pike, whose father ‘came over to Ireland a Corporal in a Troop 
of Horse in Cromwell’s Army’, recorded before his death in 1729 a more 
specific account of the alteration in the condition of the Quakers in 
Ireland in the closing years of the reign of Charles II and after the defeat 
of his brother James at the Boyne. He wrote 

“about this time (i.e. 1692) and indeed for several years before, . . . 
William Edmundson, with other faithful elders, had a deep concern and 
travail of soul for a general reformation in many things that were amiss 
amongst Friends; not only relating to disorderly conversation but also 
to the incumbrance of the world, and too eagerly pursuing it, likewise as 
to the superfluity of apparel and household furniture, with other things 
that were fast creeping upon us . . . Most of our wives ... at that time 
wore silk clothing, though of a pretty plain colour, and other costly 
apparel . . . And with sorrow I speak the same of some men Friends, 
both by their vain fashionable apparel and excessively fine and superfluous 
household furniture . . . We were further advised to be plain in our . . . 
speech . . . and to avoid extremes in the multiplicity of business . . . also 
against a multiplicity of words in bargaining . . . and against lightness or 
airiness in gestures, postures, or otherwise. Solid deportment in con- 
versation, at home and abroad, were likewise recommended . . . Our fine 
veneered and garnished cases of drawers, tables, stands, cabinets, 
scrutoires, etc., we put away, or exchanged for decent plain ones of solid 
wood, without superfluous garnishing or ornamental work; our wainscots 
or woodwork we had painted one plain colour; our large mouldings or 
finishings of pannelling, etc., our swelling chimney-pieces, curiously twisted 
banisters, we took down, and replaced with useful plain woodwork etc., 
our curtains, with valances, drapery, and fringes that we thought too fine, 
we put away or cut off; our large looking-glasses with decorated frames, 
we sold or made into smaller ones; and our closets that were laid out 
with very many little curious or nice things were done away with.” 15 

According to a later Quaker historian, these reforms were ‘the begin- 
nings of that rigidity of discipline and enforcement of minute regulations 
which mark Irish Quakerism. Plainness in speech, behaviour and apparel 
was to be the watchword of the inner circle of Friends for one hundred 
and fifty years after this date; indeed until this inner circle was almost all 
that was left.’ 16 In this connection it is necessary to note that Joseph Pike 
recorded that the efforts made in the closing years of the seventeenth 
century towards the enforcement of simplicity in the way of life of the 
Quaker community in Ireland met with opposition and stiffness; and that 



William Edmundson, in a postscript to an exhortation (of which 2,000 
copies were printed for distribution) adopted at the Leinster Province 
Meeting at Castledermot on 9th, 10th and 11th days of the 7th month 
1698, again deprecated ‘the striving as our numbers increased to be great 
in Riches and Possessions of this World; and then great fair buildings, 
in City and Country, fine and fashionable Furniture, and Apparel 
equivalent, with dainty and voluptuous Provision, with rich matches in 
Marriage, with excessive, customary, uncomely smoaking of Tobacco . . .’ 17 
In the following year, 1699, forty-six years after the first Quaker 
adventured into Ireland, in the hope that shop-keeping would be more 
profitable here than in his wife’s native Derbyshire, the extent of his 
wordly success and of those who came after him is indicated by the 
admonition which it was considered desirable to issue from the Half- 
Yearly Meeting of that year: 

“Let your moderation appear to all men in the plainness of your dress 
or apparel, not in costly attire, foolish dresses and new fashions, ruffling 
perriwigs, needless buttons, wide skirts, and big flapped-sleeved coats 
which appear to answer the fashion rather than for service. And that 
Friends keep up their former testimony against striped or flowered stuffs 
and refrain from decking or adorning their rooms with needless things, 
and their kitchens with flourishing needless pewter and brass . . .” 18 

It would appear however that observance of the foregoing injunctions 
was not sustained by some, at least, of those at whom they were directed; 
one hundred years later the distinguished American Quaker, William 
Savery, who, continuing a tour of Great Britain, France and Germany, 
arrived at Donaghadee on 4 January, 1798 and left Waterford on the 12th, 
having included Lisburn, Dublin, Mountmellick, Limerick, Cork and 
Clonmel and other Quaker centres in his itinerary. He visited a Friend’s 
house near Clonmel which was ‘a very sumptuous establishment indeed, 
which I did not omit to tell him was quite too much so’. He noted in 
his Journal that ‘Friends in Ireland seem to live like princes of the earth, 
more than in any country I have seen — their gardens, horses, carriages, 
and various conveniences, with the abundance of their tables appeared to 
me to call for much more gratitude and humility, than in some instances, it 
is to be feared, is the case’. 19 


In 1777 the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends held in 
London had under consideration the inadequacy of the existing provision 
for the education of Quaker children in England, and made urgent recom- 
mendation as follows: 

“It being the judgment of this Yearly Meeting that encouragement for 
Boarding Schools suitable for the education of children whose parents are 
not in affluence will be advantageous, the consideration of a plan proper 
to this purpose is referred to the Meeting for Sufferings, to be laid before 


the Meeting next year, to which Friends in the country are desired to give 
their attention and assistance.” 20 

As a result of these proceedings, a disused Foundling Hospital at Ack- 
worth in Yorkshire, with about 84 acres of land, were acquired for £7,000 
and adapted for use as a boarding school for ‘the guarded and religious 
education’ of 300 Quaker boys and girls, the children of Friends ‘not in 
affluence’. The terms were £8 8s. a year for board, clothing and education. 
Schoolwork continued the whole year round, uninterrupted by vacations. 
Children from all over England were sent to Ackworth, and the plan 
was so successful that the New England Quakers set up a like foundation 
at Portsmouth, Rhode Island in 1784. 21 The idea of a similar school for 
Ireland was considered at the Six Weeks’ Men’s Meeting of Leinster 
Province held at Moate on the 14th of the 8th month 1784. 22 At that 
Meeting two representatives each from the Monthly Meetings of Carlow, 
Dublin, Edenderry, Moate, Mountmellick, Wexford, Wicklow ‘and others 
choosing to attend’ who had been appointed as a committee ‘to deliberate 
on the most suitable means of supplying the deficiency which appears in 
some places with respect to the education of Friends in low circumstances’ 
brought in the following report : 

“We are of opinion that the Monthly Meeting wherein such children are 
likely to suffer for want of proper education should provide suitable places 
for boarding them convenient to Friends’ Schools without unnecessary 
delay, and as this Committee is apprehensive that sundry inconveniences 
may attend the placing of children in different families, particularly while 
their time is employed at school, we submit to the consideration of the 
Meeting whether it might not be expedient that a 

Provincial School 

should be instituted for the Education of Children of Friends in low 
circumstances, and that a committee be appointed to digest a proper plan 
for this purpose”. 

The foregoing report was accepted, and the representative committee 
which had sponsored it was desired ‘to digest an appropriate plan and 
lay it before the next Quarterly Meeting for Leinster Province’. This 
Meeting was held at Edenderry on 25th 9mo. T784, when a further sub- 
mission on the major question of cost was made and accepted, as follows : 
“We your Committee appointed by last Province Meeting are of 
opinion that no less than five thousand pounds or £300 annually will 
suffice to establish and maintain the School proposed, so as to provide 
for the accommodation maintenance and clothing of 20 boys and 20 girls 
in aid of a certain sum to be paid yearly for each. 

Previous to our entering into the consideration of any plan of economy 
for the conducting the same we propose that each Monthly Meeting set 
on foot a subscription that from a consideration of the grounds to go 
upon we may digest a plan accordingly for the regulating such Institution. 
N.B. We suppose that the sum of £500 will be necessary to fix up a 
house with proper accommodations for the purpose”. 



A further meeting of the Committee of representatives of the Monthly 
Meetings was held in Dublin on 5th llmo. 1784 at which a detailed 
scheme 23 on the following lines was prepared : — 

‘An Estimate 

of the expense of a School proposed to be established in the Province of 
Leinster for the maintenance, clothing and education of the children of 
Friends in low circumstances in said Province. 

i. It is apprehended that 40 children, 20 of each sex, may 
be dieted at some suitable place in the country at 

£5.4/-p.annum each for £208 

ii. Clothing with plain suitable raiment at £2p.a.each 80 

iii. Rent for a convenient House and Offices, Salary of 

Superintendents and Servants, and for diet and for 
washing for the same 221 

iv. Firing Soap and Candles 42.5/- 

v. Books, Paper, etc., 10 


It is proposed that the sum of £5 annually be paid for 
each by the Parents or Monthly Meeting under whose 
care they may be viz., 40 children at £5 200 


It is intended that they be carefully instructed in Reading, Writing and 
Arithmetic, also in the Principles of Truth as professed by us the People 
called Quakers, and that suitable seasons for retirement and reading of 
the Scriptures be established in said School. 

It is proposed that said School shall be under the direction and control 
of the Province Meeting, that a Committee, consisting of a Friend or more 
of each Monthly Meeting be appointed to inspect said School, and make 
report of the conducting thereof to each Quarterly Meeting, also lay before 
said Meeting a state of the fund once in the year. 

It is proposed also that no children under the age of ten years be taken 
into the School, and that their continuance there do not exceed four 

It is also proposed that, as every institution of this kind may be subject 
to alterations and regulations, the Province Meeting be empowered to 
make such as appear necessary for the improvement, enlargement and 
permanent establishment thereof.’ 

It will be noted that the cost of feeding each child was estimated at 2/- 
a week. With regard to clothing, the Committee assumed that a girl might 


be clad for ‘the same or less than a boy’. Careful estimate of the cost of 
a boy’s clothes was based on these figures : — 

“Coat and Vest 3yds. of fwide cloth at 2/-p.yd. 6- 

2yds. drugget for lining & 1yd. linen trimmings 2.- 
horn buttons 1 .- 


l^yds. shag at 1/10 


linen and trimmings 

1 .- 

For making the suit 



4 Shirts 

10yds. linen at lOp. 


Making the same at 6d.p. 


A Hat 1/4, 4pair Stocking 6/-, 2pair Shoes 6/6 



The sum of £221 at (iii) above included a figure of £91 to cover salaries 

and wages of a staff of seven, viz.. 

Salary to a Friend and his wife as housekeepers £40 

„ „ a Schoolmaster 25 

„ „ a Schoolmistress 15 

Wages of two servant girls at £3p.a.each 6 

„ „ a servant boy 5 

Dieting and washing for each of the staff at £10each on average £70 
‘Rent for a convenient house and gardens with a few acres for cows, 

potatoes’ £60. 

The sum of £42.5/- at (iv) included three items viz.. 

Soap: 7 cwts @ £2 a cwt.. Candles: 30doz @ 5/6 a doz., and 
Fuel : 800 Kishes of Turf @ 50/- each 100. 

The various Monthly Meetings concerned readily declared their 
‘sentiment with the recommendation of the Quarterly Meeting with 
respect to the great advantage and utility of such an institution’, and 
whereas the estimate of the total annual contributions required from them 
was £361.5/-; this sum was substantially exceeded, the amount of the 
annual subscriptions promised by each Meeting being 





£20.13.9 Wexford 
37. 4.9 Wicklow 
57.17.4 Dublin 
50. - .- 

6 . -. 

4 h 

£393. 3.11i 

It was apparently left to the original composite representative Committee 
to proceed with the arrangements for the establishment of the School. 
The decision to locate it at Mountmellick may have been influenced in 
consideration of the recommendations of Jonathan Pirn, John Helton, John 
Gatchell and Mungo Bewley who advised early in 1785 that ‘a house and 
concerns in that town offered by George Shannon at £50 a year could 



‘with some alterations be made commodious for this institution’. The 
offer was accepted, and the necessary steps were taken towards fitting the 
premises for use as a residential school. The financial business of the new 
venture had been entrusted to an influential group of Trustees including: 








Anthony Robinson and Joseph Robinson 
Mungo Bewley and Moses Pim Jr. 

John Boardman and Isaac Jackson Jr. 

James Lecky and Abraham Shackleton 
Samuel Woodcock and Samuel Elly 
James Pim and John Ashton 

John Dawson, Robert Clibborn Jr., William Taylor and 
Joshua Edmundson 

Towards the end of 1785 the premises being ‘nearly ready for the reception 
of children’, general regulations for the School which had been drafted by 
a sub-committee, and a dietary ‘drawn up by Mountmellick Friends’ were 
adopted by the Committee, as follows : 

‘General Plan for regulating the Family. 

The children are to rise at six in Summer and seven in Winter, and as 
soon as may be appear in their respective school-rooms washed and 
combed — a portion of the Scriptures is then to be read aloud. Breakfast 
at eight in separate apartments. Dine at one. Sup at seven. Go to bed at 
eight in winter, nine in summer. 

At all their meals the Governors are to impress a due observation of 
Sobriety and Decorum; they not beginning to eat nor rising from table 
till after a suitable pause — the Master and Mistress at the respective tables 
give a signal for the purpose. 

They go to school at such hours and are employed there in such matters 
as shall hereafter be concluded on. 

The Superintendents and Teachers take their meals together. 

The boys and girls are to be appointed, as many as convenient and 
necessary, in rotation to do the work of the house, and to be employed 
in such matters as may be suitable objects of instruction to servants 
according to the discretion of the Superintendents — and it is expected that 
they will have time between these employments to do their business in the 

Before they go to bed they are to be convened and washed and a portion 
of the Scriptures read. 

On meeting days they are to be shifted with clean linen and walk to and 
from meeting in one order according to their rank in proficiency. 

On First Days [i.e. Sundays] they are not allowed to play. The Masters 
and Mistresses calling them together at suitable times on that day to read 
the Bible or some of the writings of our Friends — in the evening there 
may be a season of retirement and after reading (as usual) they go orderly 
to bed.’ 

Plan of Regulations for School Hours. 



VI Rise in Summer! In jihour Roll called in School. Master reads 
VII „ „ Winter J from the Bible aloud, boys all standing. Spell 

from Pennsylvania Spelling Book. Read till 
VIII Breakfast — going from the school-room to their meals in good 

IX — to School. Roll called. Writing, Catechism, Arithmetick till 
I Dinner — exercise till 

III called to School Superintendent hears them in Catechism. 

IV f Master teaches them Arithmetick, — examines the work of the day 

to x in their copies and ciphering books — and gives such punishment 

VII l for faults committed in the course of the day as his sober 

judgment determines adequate thereto — not forgetting to commend 
the deserving. 


VI Rise in Summer \ Every two to make their own bed. Roll called 
VII „ „ Winter / in an hour or less. Mistress reads, the girls all 

standing. The girls appointed for each week then go to sweep out 
the rooms. The rest spell till 

VIII Breakfast — In ^hour go to school. Master sets them to write their 
copies and stays with them till IX. — When they have finished their 
copies. Knitting, Sewing, Spinning, etc., till 
XII they use relaxation till 

I Dine. — 'Mistress after dinner walks them into the garden in dry 
weather, at which time she has an opportunity of teaching them 
to avoid unbecoming awkward gestures. 

II to School — Master teaching them Arithmetick till IV — then relax 
for an hour 

V Mistress instructs them in Reading, Spelling, Catechism, etc., the 
remainder of the evening, and examines their work of the day. 

Supplementary ‘Orders for the Schoolmaster’ required 

i. That he was to transcribe the Minutes of the Meetings of the 
School Committee in a fair hand, and to keep the Accounts Book 
correct and as free from blots and erasements as possible. 

ii. Between evening school and supper to have the boys instructed in 
mending their stockings. 

iii. At suitable times he is to walk with them in the fields for the 
benefit of the air, twice in the week when the weather permits. 

iv. Four boys if necessary to be appointed for a week at a time to be 
employed in doing the work of the house, as cleaning knives, shoes. 

E 2 


etc., attending table and the cattle and working and weeding the 

v. If the boys stand in need of particular correction it is to be per- 
formed in the presence of the Superintendent. 

The ‘Orders for the Schoolmistress’ required 

i. That on rising, every two girls were to make their own beds, and 
she was to see that the girls were washed and decently dressed 
without loss of time, that they assisted in combing each others’ 
heads, and that they be neat and clean in their apparel. 

ii. Four girls if necessary to be appointed for a week at a time for 
making the boys’ beds, etc., and to be employed in the kitchen, in 
waiting at table, and such other domestic business as may qualify 
them for useful servants. 

iii. She is at convenient times to instruct the boys in deaming. 

iv. The girls appointed for the week to brush out the rooms, down the 
stairs, and brush and sweep the hall before breakfast. 

Plan of Economy for the Table. 24 - 3 - 

For Breakfast and Supper : , either 
Bread and Milk, 

Potatoes and Milk, 

Flummery and Milk, 

Stirabout and Milk, or 
Bread and Milk Pottage, 

to be left to the discretion of the Mistress of the House according to the 
different Seasons of the Year. 

For Dinner : 

1st day’s dinner — Bread and Broth in Winter, and Bread Potatoes and 
Cheese in Summer and Beer. 

2nd day’s do. — Boil’d or roast Meat and Vegetables for one Table, 
and Pudding or Suet Dumpling for the other, and 

3rd day’s do. - — The same as yesterday, but vice versa, and Beer. 

4th day’s do. — Potatoes and either Milk or Butter for both Tables. 

5th day’s do. — Meat and Vegetables for both Tables in Winter, and 

Puddings in Summer, and Beer. 

6th day’s do. — Potatoes and Milk or Butter for both Tables. 

7th day’s do. —Scraps made out with griskins and the Broth 

reserved for 1st day, and Beer. 

The Governor and Governess to have for their tables a joint of meat 
every day for dinner. 


At a meeting of the Committee held at Edende*ry on 8th 10m. 1785, 
‘the following list of clothes was concluded on to be brought by each 


child to the School at the time of admission, and they are on leaving to 
take a like quantity of clothes with them, viz.. 

List of Clothes to be brought to the School by each 


1 Hat 

2 Coats 

2 Waistcoats 
2 pr. Breeches 
4 Shirts 

2 Handkerchiefs 
4 pr. worsted 
2 pr. Shoes 
2 night Caps 


1 Hat or Bonnet 
1 Cloak (not silk) 

1 pr. Stays 
1 pr. Pockets 

1 pr. Mittens 

2 stuff Gowns 

2 Petticoats (quilted) 

2 under do. 

4 new Shifts with 4 
strong Tuckers to 

4 check Aprons with 

1 white Apron 

2 neck Handkerchiefs 
2 pocket do. 

4 Caps with strings 
2 night Caps 
4 pr. Stockings 
(worsted or yarn) 

2 pr. Shoes.’ 

The children were to bring worsted or yarn for mending their stockings. 
Each child’s outfit was to be ‘Already made and in good condition; and 
remnants of cloth, stuff, linings, etc., the same as the clothes sent with 
the children would be acceptable to repair them’. Furthermore detailed 
directions for marking the clothing were given, e.g.. 

Boys Girls 

Breeches — withinside the waistband Pockets — under the pocket hole 
Shoes — „ „ soal Caps — at the side of the cawl. 

At a meeting in Mountmellick on 15 7mo. 1785, the first few children 
for the School were accepted. These were Mary Thompson and Isaac 
Malone (Carlow) and George Stacey (Wexford). At the next meeting, held 
at Moate seventeen more children, recommended by the Monthly 
Meetings, were passed for admission : - — 

Moate John Dickinson, Sarah Dickinson. 

Mountmellick Phoebe Ruddock, Jacob Richardson, John Hogg, Richard 

Edenderry Phoebe Wilson, Hannah Brennan, Francis Miller. 

Carlow Jonathan Watson, Joseph Thornton, William Cole, John 

Tounsel, John Thompson, Sarah Thornton. 

Dublin John Wyly, Susannah Atkinson. 

At this latter meeting it was decided that each child on admission be 
required ‘to produce a certificate signed by some medical person that he 
or she is free from sores or infectious disorders’, and that a Standing 
Committee ‘be struck to consist of four or more from each Men’s 
Meeting’. Later the names of the Friends returned from the Monthly 
Meetings to compose the Standing Committee for the Provincial School 
were laid before the Quarterly Meeting and approved : — 

Moate Anthony Robinson, Joseph Robinson, Thomas Robinson, 

John Russell. 



Mountmellick John Helton, John Gatchell, Mark Goodbody, Jonathan 
Pim, William Gatchell, Mungo Bewley, Moses Pim Jr., 
Nathan Peet, Joseph Walpole Jr., George Walpole, 
Ebenezer Dudlry, 

Edenderry Joseph Truman, John Boardmore, William Hoowe, 
Abraham Neale, Isaac Jackson Jr. 

Carlow Samuel Haughton, John Watson, James Lecky, John 

Lecky, William Duckett, Richard Shackleton, Abraham 
Shackleton, Thomas Chandlee, Joseph Malone. 

Wexford Joseph Poole, Jacob Goff, Samuel Woodcock, Samuel Elly. 

Wicklow Joseph Pim, John Thomas, John Ashton. 

Dublin Joseph Williams, Thomas Bewley, John Dawson, John 

Smithson, Thomas Fayle of Thomas Street, Isaac Simms, 
John Robinson of Bride Street, Samuel Russell. 

With the appointment of this large Committee consisting of men only, it 
was ‘apprehended that the success of this Institution might be consider- 
ably furthered by Women Friends taking on their share of the care and 
government of it, especially wherein the youth of their own sex is con- 
cerned’, and the Friends of Mountmellick were accordingly desired to 
‘endeavour to prevail on some of their women to give up their names as 
a local committee’. A similar request was made to the Quarterly and 
Women’s Meetings with the result that a Sub-Committee of thirty-three 
Women Friends was formed in connection with the School: as follows: 
Moate Dinah Russell, Hannah Chanders, Hannah Robinson, 

Elizabeth Russell. 






Experience Pim, Sarah Pim, Jane Walpole (Robt.), Mary 
Bewley, Sarah Beale, Anne Paisley, Elizabeth Jackson, 
Elizabeth Goodbody. 

Ruth Inman, Elizabeth Manliff, Biddy Jackson, Jane 

Hannah Duckett, Elizabeth Shackleton, Lydia Shackleton, 
Sarah Watson, Jane Haughton. 

Elizabeth Goff, Hannah Hudson, Dorothy Chamberlain, 
Ann Elly, Sarah Poole. 

Susanna Penrose, Susanna Pim, Eleanor Thomas. 

Dublin Ann Forbes, Elizabeth Pike, Elizabeth Dawson, Jane 


Early in 1785, Jacob Martin and his wife, having offered themselves 
as Superintendents of the School, ‘were approved of and being treated 
with agreed to the terms viz. £40 p.annum with diet, washing and lodging 
for them and their four children, whom this committee consents to be 
educated free of expense’. Towards the end of 1785, Deborah Butler of 
Mountmellick offered herself as teacher of the girls of the school, and 
her services were accepted. As no one was forthcoming to undertake the 


teaching of the boys, John Dawson and Abraham Shackleton, members of 
the Standing Committee, were desired ‘to correspond with Friends in 
other Provinces to circulate the necessary inquiry therefor’. 

The School was opened for girls only on the 30th of First Month 1786, 
when, as noted in the minutes ‘Deborah Butler commenced teaching mis- 
tress’. Boys were taken at the School three months later, as a minute of 
the Meeting of the Standing Commitee held in Dublin on 11 5m. 1786 
records that 

“Mountmellick Friends return account that they have agreed with John 
Taylor to teach the children writing, spelling, etc., at 10 guineas p. ann. 
for the present commencing from 1st 4mo. last until a master is provided, 
he laying out from 2 to 4 hours in that business every day, and as it is 
apprehended that a few boys may now be admitted, each Monthly 
Meeting has liberty to send two lads to the School.” 

At a meeting of the Standing Committee of men held at Mountmellick 
on 24 3m. 1786, it was decided that of the nineteen Mountmellick Friends 
on the School Committees (including the Women’s Sub-committee) ‘two of 
each sex should visit the School every week in rotation’ and, in due 
course, this direction was incorporated in a set of 

Rules for the Local Committee 

i. The oversight of the House is committed to the care of sixteen 
Friends of the Particular Meeting of Mountmellick, eight of each sex; 
four men and three women form a committee or three men at the 

ii. They are to meet every four weeks at the House on a second day 
afternoon at half past six o’clock and none are to depart from the 
committee without leave. 

iii. All Bills drawn on the Treasurer to be signed by the three men 
Friends of this committee or by two at the least. 

iv. Two men and two women Friends are to visit the House once or 
oftener in the week to inquire into the children’s improvement in 
learning and behaviour, inspect the provisions, audit the accounts . . . 
and present a written report to the Committee at their next sitting of 
anything worthy of remark that may occur at the visit. 

v. The accounts of the House to be kept in double entry. 

vi. They are to see as much as may be that proper work be provided for 
the children, the girls especially to be exercised in such domestic 
employments as may qualify them for useful servants. 

The practice of accepting from outsiders orders for sewing to be done 
by the girls of the School was early introduced. The School Committee 
decided, at a meeting on 9 8m. 1786 ‘that the money earned by the 
children for needlework taken in at the School shall be laid out to purchase 
books for the Girls, under the direction of Women Friends, which shall 
be given as premiums to the deserving’. 245 - A few months after her 
appointment as ‘teaching mistress’, Deborah Butler was obliged ‘to give 



up owing to indisposition in her father’s house’. Anne Paisley, a local 
member of the Sub-committee of ladies, volunteered to act in her stead till 
the vacancy was filled, 24 c - as from 4 11m. 1786, by the appointment of 
Elizabeth Smith, a Friend of Edenderry, to the post. 

At a meeting of the Standing Committee held at the School on 23 2m. 

‘It being reported that William Leadbeater a young man who has 
appeared for some time under convincement finds his mind drawn to 
offer himself as a Teaching Master, a few Friends were appointed to 
confer with him and inquire into his Motives and Qualifications, who 
reported that they apprehended it safe to make trial of him, the Terms 
proposed being agreeable to him, this Committee accedes to the Report 
which Mountmellick Friends are desired to let him know.’ 

A minute of a subsequent meeting recorded that ‘William Leadbeater 
commenced as Teaching Master on 1 3m. 1787 at £25 p.a. and he appears 
well qualified. 25 The minutes of the meeting of the Standing Committee 
held on 23 6m. 1788 noted that a member ‘Richard Shackleton informed 
the meeting that two Friends of another Province having visited the 
School and being struck with the propriety of the Institution and the 
orderly conducting of it, have desired to contribute their aid to the 
support of it, and have generously offered the sum of £30 thereto, desiring 
their names may be concealed’. 20 

During the whole period of its existence, the School was free from out- 
breaks of serious illness except in the years 1789 and 1794. 27 In the 
former year. Dr Michael Jacob of Mountmellick attended some of the 
children threatened with small pox. He was not a Quaker and he declined 
a fee, but he was asked to accept ten guineas ‘on which condition Friends 
will be more free to ask his assistance in future’. 

In the summer of 1789, Jacob Martin intimated his desire to leave the 
School with his family. At a meeting of the School Committee in Carlow 
early in 1790, Mary Pirn, who had offered to ‘fill the female department 
of superintendence’ was appointed at £20 a year, and William Gatchell 
was appointed superintendent at £30 a year. At about the same time he 
assigned his interest in a ‘commodious house’ in Mountmellick to the 
Committee for a sum of £420 plus a yearly rent of £30. The School was 
transferred to these new quarters without delay, and furthermore about 
twenty acres of ‘passably good land’ at Ballycullenbeg was leased for use 
as a school farm from John Warburton at thirty shillings an acre. At the 
end of the year (1790) William Leadbeater’s notice of his intention to 
vacate the post of teaching master was received by the Committee ‘with 
some concern’. However on his departure just before his marriage to 
Mary Shackleton, William Gatchell undertook ’without injury to his 
health, the whole charge of superintendence with teaching, with the 
assistance of a suitable servant and the lad who is apprenticed to the 
School in the farm and garden’. After a few months he informed the 
Committee that he found the servant unnecessary and he was discharged. 


On the opening of the School in the House rented from George Shannon, 
Mountmellick Friends had furnished the sleeping quarters with straw 
mattresses. These were now ‘so 'broken as to render lodging uncom- 
fortable’. It was arranged after the transfer of the School to the house 
acquired from the new superintendent that ‘light feather beds laid flat over 
straw palliasses and both to be kept in good order would be a suitable 
accommodation and amendment’. A delay in making this change was 
attributed to ‘the season being hitherto unfavourable to the laying in of 
feathers’. In accordance with the current practice in residential schools, 
the children slept two-in-a-bed. 

The first of a complete series of reports, printed annually, on the 
Provincial School covered the three-year period ended 1 5m. 1790. Up to 
that date 44 boys and 39 girls had been admitted, of whom 23 boys and 
25 girls had returned home or been put to places as apprentices or ser- 
vants. There were 36 children in the School in 1787, 34 in 1788 and 39 in 
1789. At the date of the report there were 21 boys and 14 girls on the 
roll. The total subscriptions from the Monthly Meetings in each of these 
years were: 

1787 £398 1788 £412 1789 £396 

and, in addition, a total sum of £545 was paid by the Meetings concerned 
in respect of Bills of Admission or Renewal for the 109 children sent by 
them to the School at the prescribed rate of £5 each. 

A report on the School presented to a three-day meeting of the Com- 
mittee held at Mountmellick in 1791 read: 

“Friends examined the proficiency of the lads and lasses apart and are 
gratified to learn of their good conduct and submission to their superiors, 
also to find them improved in many respects and accomplished in such 
learning and useful arts as are befitting their sexes, and promise to be of 
advantage to them in future life.” 

Information is lacking as to the text books used in the School in the 
early years. The Pennsylvania Spelling Book was prescribed in the 
regulations originally drafted, but in 1791 it is recorded that 250 copies of 
‘a new edition of Anthony Benezet’s Spelling Book’ were ordered; in 1795 
it was ‘apprehended that books of moral miscellany’ might suitably be 
used as reading books in addition to the Scriptures, and 50 copies of 
Extracts and Original Anecdotes were acquired. At the same time 
Walker’s Geography was obtained for the School; this work was fuller 
than the geographical summary appended to John Gough’s Reader (This 
latter work, compiled before the Union, emphasised that ‘Ireland is a 
kingdom distinct from and independent of Great Britain, though governed 
by the same king’.). In 1799 Lindley Murray’s Reader was accepted by the 
Committee as ‘a good reading book such as might safely be introduced 
into the School. John Gough’s Arithmetic was then in use in the School, 
but Deighan’s 28 work on this subject was adopted later. 

In 1793 the School Committee sanctioned the purchase of several ‘Suit- 
able Books to lie at the School for the use of the Children’. Though 



these selected works were all by Quaker writers, they formed the nucleus 
of a collection which was afterwards expanded to include standard works 
in popular use and works of reference. In this respect, the Provincial 
School at Mountmellick was in advance of the general run of schools in 
Ireland at this period. As late as 1838 the existence of a school library 
at one centre — Midleton — was sufficiently noteworthy as to obtain special 
mention in the Report on Foundation Schools in Ireland by the Thomas 
Wyse Committee set up in 1835. 29a - Further attention to the question of 
books was given by the Mountmellick School Committee in 1793, when 
it was decided that in addition to a Bible, each child on leaving the 
School should be presented with the following works bound in two 
volumes : 

Advice to Servants 
Penn’s Advice to his Children 
John Crooke’s Advice to his 
Children and Grandchildren 
Summary of Friends’ Principles 

Hanson’s Captivity 
Francis Howgill’s Advice to his 

Phipp’s Advice to the Youth of 
Norwich Meeting 
Penn’s Maxims 

At a meeting of the School Committee at Enniscorthy on 28 6m. 1794 
it was intimated that Mary Pim, superintendent and housekeeper, was 
about to leave, but that Elizabeth Smith was willing to combine her post 
of schoolmistress with that of housekeeper. 2911 - In the following year her 
rate of remuneration was increased to £30 p.a., ‘she having filled the two 
departments under her care agreeably’. In that year there were 50 children 
in the School, 

The report presented to the School Committee on the results of the 
work done during the school-year 1793-4 reads 

“Some Friends being appointed to examine the children’s proficiency . . . 
found several of the boys expert at figures and considerable pains taken to 
improve them in reading and spelling; that on examining the girls in read- 
ing, spelling, ciphering, and needlework, satisfaction was received — a 
particular attention to the boys’ writing has been recommended.” 

The routine of the School was set out in a special educational report in 
1796. The three-class arrangement (First, Second and Third) mentioned 
therein was a feature of the School which was continued during its whole 
existence : — 

“The children are divided into three classes: the first comprise the best 
readers, the second the next best readers, and the third those beginning to 
read; each class is of both sexes; a lesson is read to every class; and to 
prevent any idea of one sex being preferred to another for instruction, the 
males read first one day, and the females first the next day, and so 
alternately — the different sexes, though of the same class, do not read 
together, but each in succession by themselves, and by this arrangement 
the worst readers have sufficient opportunity, if they will make use of it, 
to get the lesson whilst the rest are reading, and be thereby the sooner 


ready to go to write and cipher. The getting arithmetical tables and notes, 
repeating and having them explained, getting their spelling lesson again 
next morning and examining the business of the day, occupies the 
remainder of the fore and afternoon. Spelling individually is the first 
daily business of the school; those who think they have it best come up 
and are heard first, without distinction of age or sex; the words each 
misses are marked in their spelling books, and a register of them kept to 
prevent erasures, and on Seventh-day evening, before they are allowed to 
play, they must spell off all the words missed through the week, or be 
debarred from play for that evening. The children of both sexes spell in 
one general class on Fourth and Seventh days.” 

The Philadelphian Quaker, William Savery, in his tour of Ireland in 1798 
“Visited the Provincial School for the province of Leinster, consisting of 
about fifty scholars, healthy and very decent; we had a tendering time 
with them and their tutors; and also visited the boarding school for girls, 30 
wherein they were much broken into tears. The town of Mountmellick is 
not large, consisting of only one street about half a mile long. 

After tea, finding a freedom to propose a meeting of the scholars of both 
the schools, and the children of Friends in town . . . We met in the 
Provincial School, about one hundred children in all, 31 their master, 
mistresses, and thirty or forty other Friends. My mind which had been so 
exercised all day, presently after sitting down, felt sweetly opened to 
them; they were soon broken into tears, and a more precious opportunity 
I never remember with children. They took leave of us in tears, and I felt 
much refreshed and comforted . . .” 32 

Thirteen years after the foundation of Mountmellick Provincial School 
for the instruction of the children of Friends ‘in low circumstances’, it 
became evident that a basic change in the character of the institution was 
impending, as at a meeting of the local Committee on 30 3m. 1799 it was 
decided to submit for consideration at the next general meeting of the 
School Committee ‘the expediency of removing any impediments that 
may appear to stand in the way for children being admitted into the 
School whose parents are in easy circumstances, and may be thought of 
ability to send them to a more expensive school’. When this question 
came before the General Meeting on 29-31 7m. 1800, the School had its 
full complement of 50 children, and the Committee decided that there 
was not ‘at present a necessity to open the door’ for the admission of 
children of Friends in easy circumstances. 

With regard to the work of the school-year 1800-1801, women Friends 
reported that the girls 

“in their spelling have given general satisfaction; they seem pretty ready 
in arithmetic, in some of them proficiency appears in writing but their 
reading does not seem so agreeable — and some of their needlework 
appears well done. 

It appears that the boys have given satisfaction: in spelling, writing and 
arithmetic proficiency is observable — their reading though pretty accurate 



was generally in a tone of voice not agreeable. The farm has been 
inspected and found in good order and the crops promising to be 
productive.” 33 

At a meeting of the School Committee in Carlow on 24 12m. 1803 it was 
noted that there were then 22 vacancies in the School, that there were no 
children awaiting admission, and that four children were about to be 
withdrawn. In 1804 when the number of children in the School had 
declined to 24 (15 boys and 9 girls) the Committee adopted the view that 
“Monthly Meetings might be left at greater liberty than formerly of 
returning the children of Friends in more easy circumstances than those 
for whom the School was originally designed, always giving the latter 
description a decided preference, it being found that there has not been a 
sufficient number of such to keep the School full.” 

William Gatchell resigned his appointment at the School early in 1803, 
and in 1804 John Mayne and his son John came from England to fill the 
posts of superintendent and schoolmaster respectively at salaries amount- 
ing to £100, and the concession that Elizabeth Mayne, wife of John Sr., 
was to be ‘dieted, washed for and lodged in the house’. The Maynes stayed 
for less than a year, and as from 4 4m. 1805, William Clendenan, who had 
previously served temporarily as a teacher in the School, was appointed 
superintendent. In the next year, Susanna Doyle held the post of school- 
mistress. There were then 16 boys and 2 girls in the School. Alexander 
Wilson, who held the post of schoolmaster, was succeeded in 1807 by 
John Barnes, who was given £80 a year without board or lodging. He was 
followed by a new master, Francis Wills, who was paid at the rate of 
£100 a year, and was permitted to have his own children and a nephew in 
the School as day pupils. Rachel Saul of Waterford came as school- 
mistress in 1810 at £20 p.a. in succession to Susanna Doyle. 

As there were only 16 boys and 7 girls in the School in 1806, the 
Committee reverted to the suggestion made in 1804 that a less rigorous 
means test should be applied in connection with admissions to the School, 
and now proposed that the School should receive ‘children of all Friends 
in the Province, relying on the hope that Friends in easy or affluent 
circumstances will not let the funds of the institution suffer by the 
admission of their children — and Monthly Meetings are desired to see 
that this hope be not disappointed’. This proposal was adopted in 1810. 
The extension of the facilities of the School to all Quaker children in 
Leinster province resulted almost immediately in an increased enrolment. 
There were 43 children in the house by the end of 1811, and it seemed 
likely that the accommodation might become inadequate. The fact that 
the type of pupil had changed may have necessitated the instruction to 
the superintendent to hav; the boys’ stockings sent out for mending so as 
to afford the girls ‘all the opportunity that can be for their improvement 
in useful learning’. By the end of 1812 there were several pupils ‘whose 


parents gave expectation of paying the whole expense, and others accord- 
ing to their ability and conscience’. About this time the School Com- 
mittee considered ‘the desirability of arrangements for keeping the male 
and female children more separate where necessary — which is an object 
of concern more requisite in proportion to the enlargement of the number 
of scholars’. 34 There was then ample accommodation for 60 children in the 
School — by the end of 1813 there were 59 on roll, and it was noted 
that ‘several were likely to be sent’. With regard to some of the new 
entrants however, the superintendent felt obliged to 

“intimate to the Committee that he thinks greater simplicity might be 
kept in clothing the boys who may be sent to the School, — and under- 
standing that some boys have been sent in whose clothing neces- 
sarily required alterations, in order to preserve that consistency of 
appearance so desirable in a School immediately under the care of the 
Society — and the subject having obtained consideration here, it is 
pressingly and tenderly recommended to Friends who have the care of 
children to be careful in this respect, being persuaded that the seeds of 
vanity thus early sown in the minds of dear youth are often not easily 
eradicated, but too often assist in fitting them for society altogether 
improper for them to associate with, thus giving them wings to fly away, 
not only from the care of the Society but of their own and perhaps too 
indulgent parents’’. 

Rachel Saul resigned from the post of schoolmistress in 1813, and 
Susanna Eustace, who had been an apprentice teacher in the Munster 
Provincial School, was appointed to Mountmellick at £20 a year ‘to 
undertake the entire instruction of the girls’, but members of the Com- 
mittee resident in that town were ‘desired to commit Susanna in an 
especial manner to the maternal regard and care of Elizabeth Smith, she 
being young in years’. 

The widening of the circles from within which the pupils of the 
School were now recruited apparently suggested the desirability, about 
this time, of recasting the existing orders or directions for the Governor 
and Governess of the School 35 and for the Master and Schoolmistress. The 
revised orders for these officers required, inter alia, that they 
iii. Attend Meeting in the following order: Governor to precede the 
boys and the Master after them. The Governess to precede the girls 
and the Mistress after them — all four carefully attending to their 
conduct in Meeting, and to ‘give timely caution to such as behave 

v. They are to watch that no improper Books, Periodicals or Papers be 
introduced or secreted among the children, this being a source of 
much evil. 

vi. They are diligently to inculcate a modest deportment, to enjoin 
them to use the plain language, 36 always to speak truth without 
prevarication, to love one another, to be courteous, to behave 
respectfully to their elders, taking due notice of such as speak to 



them: such a conduct will be no less an ornament to the Children 
than a credit to their Teachers, and all will suffer loss in proportion 
to their neglect of these necessary duties, 
vii. They must be very careful of their own conduct, remembering* 
example is more prevalent than precept, being faithful in discharg- 
ing the important trust committed to them, and let the recompense of 
temporal things have the lowest place in their consideration. 

At the Quarterly Meeting for Leinster Province held in the ninth month 
1815, an entire rearrangement of the Rules governing the Provincial 
School was approved. 37 Chapter VI of this comprehensive compilation 
contained the following Advices ‘to be strictly observed by the Children 
at the School’ : 

I. They are to rise at half-past six o’clock in the morning in summer* 
and seven in winter, and dress themselves quietly and orderly, endeavouring 
to begin the day in the fear of the Lord, which is the fountain of life* 
preserving from the snares of death. 

II. That they wash their faces and hands, and at the ringing of the 
bell collect themselves in order, and come decently into School, and 
take their seats in a becoming manner, without noise or hurry. 

III. That they refrain from talking or whispering in School, and that 
when repeating their lessons to the Master or Mistress they speak audibly 
and distinctly. 

IV. That they shall not be absent from School nor go out of bounds 
without leave. 

V. That when the bell rings for breakfast, dinner or supper, they 
assemble in silence, and in due order, having their faces and hands clean* 
and their hair combed, and so proceed quietly into the dining room. 

VI. That they observe a solemn silence before and after meals, under a 
grateful sense of the bounty they daily receive from the Father of 
Mercies : that they eat their food decently, be careful not to waste any of 
it, and refrain from conversation. 

VII. That they never tell a lie, use the sacred name irreverently, or mock 
the aged or deformed; that whenever they are spoken to, they give 
attention, and with their faces turned towards those that speak to them* 
make the necessary reply in a modest and audible manner; but always 
careful to speak consistent with their knowledge and to express them- 
selves in as few and as comprehensive words as they are able. 

VIII. That they avoid all rudeness to one another, and that they behave 
with mildness and kindness to each other: they are enjoined when at 
play to observe moderation and decency; that they do not run in the 
house, but walk uprightly, and when shutting the doors to do so quietly; 
that they avoid on all occasions doing mischief to any person or animal* 
to their apartments, or the furniture, or to any article they have to do 

IX. That they neither buy, sell, give nor exchange without leave; and 
that they strictly avoid gaming of all kinds. 


X. That they observe a sober and becoming behaviour when going to, 
coming from, or whilst in religious meetings; that they sit still therein, 
labouring after composure of mind; and guard against the wanderings of 
their thoughts, or a drowsy disposition, and secretly desire a preparation 
of heart to worship aright. 

XI. That they conduct themselves respectfully to all, more especially to 
those who have care of them, cherishing an affection and esteem of them, 
always ready to do any service required of them without reluctance or 
gloom. That they be kind and affectionate to their school-fellows, and if 
they imagine they have received any injury, by no means to resent it, but 
be willing to forgive and forget, and in all cases they obey the command 
of Christ ‘All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do 
ye even so to them’. 

XII. That whenever they have committed a fault, either through 
inadvertence or otherwise, they stand open to the discovery of it, showing 
a disposition to give all the satisfaction in their power, by which they 
will ensure forgiveness; and by their future improvement, the friendship 
of their caretakers and best companions. 

XIII. That they constantly use the plain language correctly, and 
encourage others therein, and in simplicity of heart, behaviour and 
appearance, in a consistency of conduct with their profession; and that 
they carefully attend to that principle of grace in the secret of their own 
minds which reproves for every bad thought, word or action. 

XIV. That in the evening they assemble and take their seats in the 
dining-room, and after attending to such parts of the Holy Scriptures or 
other religious books as may be read to them, they retire to their bed- 
chambers, quietly undress themselves, and lay aside their clothes in an 
orderly manner, go to and remain in their own beds, and avoid all idle 
discourse. They are tenderly advised to close, as well as to begin the 
day, with remembering their gracious Creator, whose mercies are over all 
his works. 

The report of the School Committee for the school-year ended 30 
4m.l815 was to the effect that 

“The improvement of the children in the sundry branches of their 
learning is very evident, and their agreeable conduct bespeaks the great 
care that has been extended towards them. The House Department and 
the Farm are in good order, and we trust there is encreasing encourage- 
ment for Friends to support this useful establishment.” 

There were then fifty-nine pupils in the School and twelve were awaiting 
admission. The total of the subscriptions from the Monthly Meetings that 
year was £296.2.6|, and payments from them in respect of ‘Bills of 
Admission and Continuance’ amounted to £571.9.9. An additional sum 
amounting to £195.5.10 was received in respect of certain children whose 
parents or friends arranged to pay the ‘average cost’ of maintaining and 
educating the children throughout the year in the School. 



The accounts for the year showed a profit from the farm and garden of 
£28.8.6, and there was also a receipt of £1.14.9^ for ‘Overtime’. The 
total of the receipts was £1223.9.3 — £177.4.9 more than the expenditure 
which included 

House Expenses 



311. 1.6 

Stationery, Books, etc. 

51. 2.3 

Salaries and Servants’ Wages 


Rent and Taxes 

14. 4.7i 

Repairs, etc. 


Furniture for wear & tear 


£ 1 400.1 4.0 

In 1816 the School Committee recorded ‘concern to find that the sub- 
scriptions have so materially fallen off they appearing less, much less, 
the present year, than they have been any former one since the establish- 
ment of the School’. Later the Committee reviewed the financial condition 
of the School in the light of this special report: 

“The School was established for forty children, but this number was 
afterwards increased to fifty. For many years the annual subscriptions 
averaged £400 and upwards, and the Bills of Admission were at £5. The 
expenses encreasing and the annual subscriptions decreasing the deficiency 
was provided for by advancing the price of Bills of Admission in the 
year 1805 to £10 and a subscription raised to pay off a debt that had then 
accumulated. Since that period the expenditure has exceeded the income by 
£386.14 — an average of rather more than £35.3 p.a. so that after having 
expended £250 received of legacies and donations, which agreeably to 
rule should have been invested, the School on 30 of last 4m.(1816) was in 
debt £371.15.3. Arrangements were made about three years past to admit 
sixty children. The price for those able to pay was fixed for this year at 
£26, but as applications for £10 entries were lately becoming more 
numerous, the finances did not give means sufficient to give a guarded and 
useful education to all children of Friends in low circumstances who may 
be in want thereof. The funds as now existing would admit of 42 children 
at £10 and 18 at £26.” 

It was arranged to take 40 children at the reduced rate and 20 at £26 or 
upwards. Additions to the school-buildings, completed in 1821, resulted 
in comfortable class-room accommodation for 80 children. The superin- 
tendents, William C. Clendenan and Elizabeth Smith, both resigned in 
that year, and early in 1822 John Morris and Sarah Carter were 
appointed in their stead. In the same year Susanna Eustace resigned 
through ill-health. Jane Elwood Shannon was thereupon appointed tem- 
porarily as mistress. She was followed in 1825 by Rachel Chapman, who 
had been an apprentice teacher in the School. Henry Ferris who had 
succeeded Francis Wills as master resigned in 1825 and was followed by 
John Taylor of Edenderry, who within a year however made way for 


John L. McCrea, who was engaged as master at ‘£100 British’ p.a. These 
frequent changes of teaching staff directed the attention of the Com- 
mittee to the unsettled state of the School, in which it was noted that 
‘there was a falling off in sundry particulars not only on its funds but 
in other respects’. The Committee came to the conclusion that ‘the only 
mode under present circumstances whereby the School could be pre- 
served agreeable to the wishes of the Society would be to seek two 
Friends (man and woman) who would be adequate to the entire manage- 
ment of the institution’. At a meeting of the Committee at Carlow on 29 
12m. 1827, the Dublin members submitted ‘a proposal from Isaac Clark, 
a Friend resident in Leeds, to undertake the office of superintendent and 
school-master — he being a married man, that his wife should fill the 
station of housekeeper’. It was agreed to appoint them, and ‘that for 
their joint services Isaac and Elizabeth Clark should receive £150 p.a. 
with board and lodging, and that their two children, aged 6 and 4, should 
‘also be inmates of the family free of expense to their parents until they 
attained the age of 8 years, when they may be admitted into the School 
on the lowest terms’. Mr. and Mrs. Clark started at Mountmellick on 1 
3m. 1828 with 31 children in addition to their own. Mrs. Clark died in the 
following year and her sister-in-law, also Elizabeth, was appointed to the 
post of housekeeper at £25 p.a. Isaac Clark’s rate was then fixed at £130 

Certain innovations were introduced by the Clarks: in 1830, for the 
first time since the establishment of the School some of the children were 
allowed to go home to see their parents. That the School Committee had 
strong misgivings in the matter is evident from the record: ‘and the Com- 
mittee having considered the subject do grant them permission, but at the 
same time they think it right to express the conviction that the practice 
ought not to be encouraged, as it is one which they think likely to be 
injurious to the children as well as to the institution’. Another change 
introduced by Isaac Clark was the abandonment of the practice whereby 
the children shared beds; the introduction of day pupils was first effected 
also under the Clarks: the two sons of Anthony Pirn (John Thacker aged 
10 and Charles Anthony aged 8J) being admitted ‘for such period as the 
Committee may think proper’, though in this matter too the Committee 
felt ‘that it was not expedient to admit day scholars’. However they fixed 
a fee of £12 each for any such taken in at the School. At this time the 
members of the School Committee were apparently well satisfied with the 
performance of Isaac Clark as superintendent, as in their report for 1830, 
while regretting to observe the falling off in the subscriptions from the 
Monthly Meetings, they added that ‘The general state of the institution 
as well as the progress of the children at this time afforded us much 
satisfaction’; and in 1831 they reported that ‘the harmony subsisting in 
the family, economy practised in the domestic arrangements, and the 
domestic arrangements, and the neatness and good order of the premises. 




have at this time afforded much satisfaction’. The sub-committee of Women 
Friends made a less flattering report in 1833: 

“We your Committee appointed to inspect the house department report 
that we have minutely examined the house, the general appearance of 
which gave satisfaction, but we regret to state that there seems deficiency 
in the laundry department, and considerable want of regularity in the 
children’s clothes, also that much attention is required in the cleanliness 
of their persons, and the neatness of their appearance.” 

Following on the presentation of the foregoing report, relations between 
the local sub-committee and the superintendent (Isaac Clark) disimproved, 
and these relations were further worsened by certain unpleasantness which 
arose from complaints regarding the quality of the food provided for the 
children. 38 On 28 6m. 1834, Isaac Clark relinquished his appointment at 
the School, and the school-mistress Rachel Chapman left soon afterwards. 
By the end of the year (1834) there were only 15 boys on the roll and 
the number of girls had fallen as low as 8. ‘The subject of breaking up 
the Girls’ School for the present’ was considered by the Committee at its 
meeting in Dublin on 27 9m. 1834. A few months later, Robert M. 
Nevitt, who had completed his apprenticeship to teaching, was appointed 
master of the boys’ school. Martha Neale had succeeded lane Shannon as 
housekeeper, and the duties of superintendent were assumed by John 
Taylor of Dublin in 1836. In that year, there being but five girls, Ann 
Walpole, who had been acting as school-mistress ‘relinquished any 
remuneration for her services, and agreeably to her own desire was 
liberated’. However she returned to the School in the following year. 
In that year also the Committee accepted a proposal from Henry Lus- 
combe, a Friend from Devonshire, to undertake the work of school- 
master. The proposal was accepted in the hope that he would be found 
‘an efficient and valuable officer in the department of education’. 

When John Taylor left in 1839, Henry Luscombe was appointed super- 
intendent and schoolmaster. He was given John Thompson as assistant 
superintendent. The post of schoolmistress was then held by Mary Ann 
Kenway. When she and Henry Luscombe married in 1841, she was 
retained in the School as lady superintendent and housekeeper, and 
Margaret Newbold was appointed to succeed her as school-mistress. 
Henry Luscombe and his wife relinquished their posts at the Provincial 
School in 1847, and opened a private school at Derrycappagh. 39 Henry 
Luscombe however retained a connection with the former school for some 
years as an active member of the local visiting committee. He was 
associated with Marcus Goodbody and Jonathan Pirn in 1852 in an 
examination of the plan of education in operation in schools comparable 
to Mountmellick, and the submission of recommendations as to desirable 
changes. On consideration of these recommendations, the Committee 
came to the conclusion that ‘the range of instruction at the Provincial 
School required to be considerably extended, especially in reference to 
subjects of a scientific character’. Nonetheless no notable change was 


made at this time in the school arrangements, though the Committee 
decided in 1853 to give a vacation of four weeks ‘as an experiment’. It 
may be of interest to note that an item of loss in the accounts of the 
Committee for this year was attributed to the expenses of a distraint in 
respect of tithes claimed on the produce of the farm and garden. 

A school, similar to that at Mountmellick, had been opened under 
the auspices of the Munster Quarterly Meeting in the former residence of 
the Wyse family at Newtown, Waterford, on 1 8m. 1798, for the accom- 
modation of forty boys and twenty girls. In 1855, it was decided by 
mutual agreement that the Quarterly Meetings of Leinster and Munster 
Provinces ‘should unite for the care of these institutions, and believing 
that advantage would arise from having the Boys and Girls educated in 
separate establishments, it was concluded that the house and premises at 
Newtown should be appropriated for the Boys’ School, and those at 
Mountmellick for the Girls’ School’. Joshua Jacob was the last boy 
admitted to Mountmellick Provincial School. When the boys removed to 
Newton in the summer of 1885. Joseph Thompson, being the youngest 
afterwards regarded himself as the ‘last boy out’. 40 Mary Howell was 
lady superintendent and Lucy Bewley Teacher of First Class when 
Mountmellick School opened for girls only on 8 8m. 1855. It was visited 
on 9 May, 1856 by George Whitley Abraham, one of the Assistant Com- 
missioners associated with the public Inquiry of 1854-8 into Educational 
Endowments in Ireland. His reports on many of the schools inspected by 
him including Mountmellick Boys’ and Girls’ Church School were scathing 
but in regard to the Provincial School he wrote: 

“I cannot say I noticed anything deserving of else than praise in the con- 
duct of this school. The attitude of the superintendent and teachers was 
most becoming, and the demeanour of the pupils modest without timidity. 
1 feel convinced there is a firm discipline, free from austerity or brow- 
beating, maintained in this establishment. The state of instruction I 
believe to be the highest of which an extensive and judicious school course 
admits. The pupils read with perfectly correct but unexaggerated 
emphasis; were well acquainted with the derivation of words; answered 
without one mistake all the questions put to them in grammar, including 
some of a searching description ... I think it only right to state that 
this is, in every respect, the most creditably managed school of its kind 
that has fallen under my observation.” 41 

From 1855 till it was ‘laid down’ in 1920, the Friends’ Provincial 
School, Mountmellick, was rightly regarded as one of the best of the 
boarding-schools providing secondary education for girls in Ireland. Its 
records for this latter period might well furnish interesting material for 
supplementary study. 




1 Isabel Grubb, M.A., My Irish Journal — 1669 : 1670 — by William Penn, London 

1952 p. 68: editorial note under November !, 1669. The development of 

Mountmellick as a centre of population is somewhat obscure. A popularly accepted 
view is that it started as an English colony near the beginning of the seventeenth 
century, and that it was still in its infancy when the Quakers began to settle in or 
near it. In his letter of 8 December 1838 on the parish of ‘Rossanallis’, John 
O’Donovan wrote: “The town of Mountmellick, the largest and best in Queen’s 
County is mostly in this parish. I have no history of its origin, but as it does not 
appear on the old map of Leax and Ophaly or on the Down Survey, I conclude it 
must be a very modem town, owing perhaps its origin, and certainly its flourishing 
condition to the money making followers of George Fox. In the documents relating 
to the O’Duns of Hy-Regan to whom this place originally belonged, it is called 
Mointaghe Melicke i.e. the bogs (or boggy lands) of Meelieke”. — Ordnance Survey 
Letters (N.L.I. Typescript Vol. I. page 83, note no. 201.). Whilst it is true that 
Mountmellick is not on the map of the Philip and Mary Plantation, it is included 
in the Down Survey, and is marked on Sir William Petty’s Hiberniae Delinatio. 

2 William Edmundson, Journal , Dublin 1715 p. 26. 

3 John Rutty, History of the Rise and Progress of the People called Quakers in 
Ireland from the Year 1653 to 1700. Dublin 1751 p. 118. 

4 The account of William Edmundson’s life in the Dictionary of National 
Biography (1888 Edn. Vol. XVI. pp. 412-4) is based largely on that given by himself 
in his Journal (op. oit.). He was bom in Westmorland in 1627, and, on completing 
an apprenticeship to carpentry and joinery, he joined the parliamentary army in 
which he served under Cromwell at the battle of Worcester. On demobilisation he 
married and intended opening a shop in his wife’s native Derbyshire. He was how- 
ever persuaded by his brother (then serving with the army of occupation at 
Waterford) to do so in Ireland instead, where, as he records ( Journal p. 13), there 
were ‘presentations and opportunities to get riches’ at that time either by trading or 
taking land. On a return visit to England, he became a Quaker, and in the year 
1654 at his house in Lurgan he started ‘the first settled meeting of the people called 
Quakers in Ireland’ (Rutty op. cit. p. 87). From the time of his settling in the Irish 
midlands towards the close of the Protectorate till his death more than half a century 
later in the reign of Queen Anne, he was the foremost Quaker in Ireland. After his 
death, Tobias Pledwell and John Barcroft on behalf of Mountmellick Monthly 
Meeting testified to his constant zeal ‘in Addressing the Government and the Chiefest 
Men in Authority, on Behalf of Friends and the English Inhabitants’ of Ireland 
( Journal xxxviii). A memorial tablet on the south wall of ‘The Friends’ Sleeping 
Place’ at Tiniel, Rosen a! Sis. where he was interred in 1712, records that he was ‘the 
first member of the Society of Friends who settled in Ireland’. Memorials of the 
Dead, Ireland. Vol. X. 1917-20. p. 376. 

5 W. C. Braithwaite, The Beginnings of Quakerism. London 1912. p. 214 (quoted 
from the Boswell Middleton Colin, in the Friends’ Library, London). 

® The Present State of Ireland, together with some Remarques . . . London, 
printed by M. D. for Chr. Wilkinson at the Black-Boy in Fleet Street . . . 1673. 
pp. 71-2. 

7 Edward MacLysaght, M.A. Irish Life in the Seventeenth Century (after 
Cromwell). Dublin. 1939. p. 254. 

8 Since the coming of the Quakers to Ireland ‘may almost be called an outcome 
of the Cromwellian Settlement’ (Isabel Grubb, M.A. Quakers in Ireland 1654-1900. 
London. 1927. p. 16), their feeling towards the country and its people was identical 
with that of the other settlers. Their common attitude was the same as that attributed 
to William Penn in that ‘He failed to realise the injustice done to the people of 
Ireland; he looked upon it as a country to be colonised and settled by the English. 
He . . . had apparently no sympathy with the Irish owners so unjustly dispossessed. 
... He was probably unaware of the high state of civilisation which had been 
destroyed by the coming of the English’. (Isabel Grubb, M.A. Penn’s Journal op. 
cit. preface pp. 15-16). Nonetheless the beginning of the growth of the liberal views 
which characterised later generations of Quakers in Ireland may be traced to the 
lifetime of some of the earliest settlers, as in 1695 they recorded their ‘desire that 
Friends that are Land Lords may be tender for the honour of Truth and their inward 

Plate IV] 

[To face page 84 

The Friends’ Provincial School, Mountmellick 

(plate No. E.2730 in the Eason Collection in the National Library of Ireland, reproduced by permission of the Trustees 

Plate V] 

[To face page 85 

Quaker Schoolchildren, c. 1810 

(from a drawing by W. Johnson) 


Good and for the sake of poorer men their tenants not to set their Lands and 
Tenements at a Rack Rent to the ©pressing and Grinding the face of the poor and 
bringing Reproach upon ye Gracious Truth’. (N.L.I. MS. No. 94: Richard 
Shackleton, Ballitore — Transcript of Minutes of Half-Yearly Meetings, beginning 

9 William Penn, who had been arrested at a Quaker meeting in Cork in 1667, 
complained to Orrery that ‘so malicious and injurious a practice to innocent English- 
men’ was ‘a bad argument to invite English hither’, and he was immediately released. 
Rutty op. cit. p. 126. 

For William Edmundson, Mountrath had ‘a place in his heart, which he retained 
to his death; also his son after him was always kind and ready to do Friends good 
upon occasion’. Journal op. cit. p. 41. 

10 ‘Boycotting, as the practice was named after its adoption by the Land League 
in 1880, was introduced by Rev. George Clapham in the parish of Rosenallis more 
than two centuries previously. This is Edmundson’s description of the process as 
applied in the year 1665: ‘1 Having my Liberty, found a Concern on my Mind, 
to sollicite the Government against the Priest’s Fierceness and Cruelty. For George 
Clapham, Priest of Mountmellick, endeavour’d to prevent the Miller’s grinding our 
Corn for our Families, or any to Speak or Trade with us, or any of our Families; 
he watch’d the Market, and our Friends’ Shops; and those he saw, or knew to deal 
with Friends, he sent the Apparitor to Summon them to the Bishop’s-Court. . . . 
This Priest told his hearers. That if they met any of us in the High-way, they should 
shun us, as they would shun the Plague; and if they owed us any thing, they need 
not pay it; or if they knockt us on the head, the Law would bear them out’. Journal 
op. cit. p. 43. 

11 Presidential Address 1955 to Friends’ Historical Society, London — Early 
Quakerism in Ireland, by John M. Douglas. 

12 Edmundson, Journal, op. cit. p. 120. Also Rutty, op. cit. p. 157: A.D. 1689. 
‘Hereupon Friends made application to King James, who received them kindly, and 
promised that he would take a particular care that they would be protected’. 

13 The ‘Acts Orders and Proceedings of the Commons House of Parliament 
assembled and met together in Chichester House, Dublin, 1695-8’ contain the 
following denial under date 15 November 1698: ‘an address of William Edmundson, 
Thomas Strafford, Robert Hoope, Thomas Weight, and Gershon Boate in behalf 
of themselves and the rest of their friends, the people called Quakers, in the Kingdom 
of Ireland, humbly intreating, this House would be pleased not to entertain hard 
thoughts of them concerning groundless and untrue reflections that they lent King 
James money, and raised and clothed a regiment for him; and that this House would 
put a charitable construction upon their tendeer scruple of conscience, in not sub- 
scribing the Declaration, in regard the sacred name of God is therein contained, 
and in that respect too much like an oath. . . .’. p. 1044. 

14 Rutty, op. cit. pp. 158, 177. 

15 Some Account of the Life of Joseph Pike of Cork Ireland written by himself. 
The Friends’ Library. Philadelphia. 1838. Vol. II. p. 369. 

16 Isabel Grubb, M.A. Quakers in Ireland op. cit. p. 81. 

17 Rutty, op. cit. pp. 199-200. 

18 Friends’ Archives, Dublin. Port. 5a. 24. 

w The Journal of William Savery. The Friends’ Library. Philadelphia. 1837. Vol. 
I. pp. 327-481. 

20 Rufus M. Jones, Later Periods of Quakerism. London 1921. p. 672n. 

21 Edward Grubb, M.A. What is Quakerism. London 1917. p. 175 & Rufus M. 
Jones, op. cit. p. 672. 

22 The Quakers discarded the ‘heathen names’ of the months and of the days of 
the week. Since the year began in England (prior to 1752) on 25 March, that month 
was styled First Month and so on. The last seven days of March were taken as 
belonging to the New Year. January and February were regarded as the Eleventh 
and Twelfth Months of the preceding year. In Quaker records the whole of March 
is reckoned as First Month, and April becomes Second Month. The following dates 



of consecutive meetings in February and March illustrate the practice: 

‘27th of 12m. 1684’, i.e. February. ‘6th 13th 20th 27th of 1m. 1685’, i.e. March. 
The substitution of Quaker dating for that in general use has ‘resulted in much 
chronological confusion’.— W. C. Braithwaite, op. cit. preface vi, vii; also Dr 
Arnold LLoyd, Quaker Social History. London 1948, note on dating app. B. p. 183. 

23 This scheme is set out in a document (No. 5 A.l) in the Friends’ Archives, 
Dublin, endorsed ‘Estimate of Annual Expense of the Provincial School, ATHY’. 
It is also contained in the Register (No. B. 10) also in the Archives. 

24 '0n an examination of the expenditure on food, the Committee concluded in 
1788 that savings might be made 

i. By laying in Wheat in a proper season and manufacturing it into Bread for 
which the local committee was directed to provide convenient binns for storage 
also a Boulting Machine. 

ii. By a small alteration in the Bill of Fare, striking off the Tea on first day 
evenings, and in case of a scarcity of milk some other substitute may be 
used. Also to avoid the use of Sugar unless where it is absolutely necessary. 

At the beginning of 1799, ‘it being now proposed that it might be proper to 
allow the children four meals of animal food in each week throughout the year 
instead of what is at present ordered, the Committee agreed thereto’. 

In 1805, glazed ware, probably made locally, was substituted for the wooden 
trenchers hitherto used at the School at meal-times. 

A sub-committee appointed in 1827 recommended ‘that the strictest economy and 
frugality be used in the various branches of expenditure particularly in those of 
clothing, groceries, meat, wheat and flour; that less bread and more stirabout and 
potatoes be used in the Family, and that the use of beer be discontinued’. — (At the 
beginning of the century there were four breweries in Mountmellick : ‘The beer 
is excellent and supplies most of the neighbouring towns, even without the county’. 
R.D.S. Statistical Survey of the Queen’s County, by Sir Charles Coote. Dublin. 1801. 
A later survey of 1819 indicated that 

‘there are five breweries in the town of Mountmellick which produce excellent 

beer’. Rev John Baldwin, Parish of Rosenallis or Oregon, in A Statistical Survey 

of Ireland. Dublin 1819 Vo!. III. p. 327 (by William Shaw Mason)). 

2415 The minutes of this meeting contain the first recorded report on the work of 
the School, and indicated that it had begun well as ‘the orderly appearance of the 
children was pleasing and satisfactory to the Friends present at the meeting as was 
their improvement in necessary learning’. 

24c Three years later. ‘Anne Paisley found her mind engaged to reside in the School 
as a lodger, in order to give her assistance thereto, the Committee approved of her 
concern therein and the motives of it . . . she does not seem easy to reside without 
paying for her board’. 

25 William Leadbeater received his education at the Quaker School at Ballitore 
under Richard Shackleton, whose gifted daughter, Mary, has written: — ‘On the 7th 
of Fifth-month, 1777 William Leadbeater came to school. His brother-in-law and 
guardian, an episcopal clergyman, and his neighbour, a clergyman of the Church 
of Rome, accompanied him hither. That these two men lived in good neighbourhood, 
but in sincere friendship was matter of wonder to some; while others saw no reason 
why a difference of religious sentiments should prevent liberal minds from assimil- 
ating. The orphan boy whom they introduced possessed dispositions calculated to 
gain the goodwill of that family of which he now forms part. . . In 1791 I changed 
my name of Shackleton, and took that which belonged to my friend William 
Leadbeater’. The Leadbeater Papers, Vol. I. 2nd. Edn. London 1862. pp. 104, 192. 

26 Richard Shackleton, who had succeeded his father as master of the famous 
Quaker School at Ballitore in 1756 was deeply interested in the working of the 
Quaker Provincial School at Mountmellick. On 20 8m. 1792, a week before his 
death of malignant fever he wrote to his daughter, Margaret Grubb: — ‘I expect 
to go to Mountmellick tomorrow, and to attend the Monthly Meeting there next 
day, and join in a visit to the provincial school’. Another daughter, Mary Leadbeater, 
has left this account of his end: — ‘On the 21st he rose early, as he was accustomed 
to do, bathed, took leave of his family, and, accompanied by a servant, set out on 


horseback for Mountmellick, to attend the committee for the provincial school. 
He left home apparently in his usual health and spirits, but his daughter Chandlee 
when he reached her home in Athy six miles on the way, thought he did not seem 
quite well. However, he proceeded fourteen miles to Mountmellick, and to the house 
of his friend John Gatchell. Not apprehending that he was alarmingly ill, he sat 
one of the meetings; but being obliged to go out of the next, John Gatchell sent 
his servant back to Ballitore to acquaint his family of his indisposition. His son 
and daughter Sarah, immediately went to him — he died 28th 8mo. 1792, aged 66.’ 

■ — Mary Leadbeater, Memoirs and Letters of Richard and Elizabeth Shackleton. 
London 1822. p. 210. 

27 These years mark the beginning of the prevalence of malignant contagious fever 
‘that most calamitous indication of general distress in Ireland’, and by which the 
country was ravaged for over half a century. ‘The classes of people who were, com- 
paratively speaking, exempt from fever, were those who had abundance of good 
food, who were supplied with clothing and fuel, who were less exposed to the 
inclemency of the seasons, and whose minds were at ease, at least above the feelings 
of despondency. The infrequency of fever among the class of society in comfortable 
circumstances is attributable to . . . seclusion from those by whom the disease is 
most frequently communicated. Little or no fever had appeared among the society 
of Quakers, probably from the same causes operating from a higher degree’. First 
Report of the Select Committee on the State of Disease . . . in Ireland. Parly. 
Paper (H. of C.) 7 May 1819. No. 314. pp. 11 and 51. 

28 Paul Deighan, a Dublin ‘Philomath’, included the following recommendation 
in the introductory papers to his Geography of Ireland: 

Paul Deighan, 

Esteemed friend, having examined the second edition of thy Arithmetic and 
think it the most judicious performance of the kind of any which I have hitherto 
seen, and the best calculated for enabling youth to become adepts in that valuable 

I am pleased to hear that a second edition of thy excellent System of Book- 
keeping is at press. It has justly merited that decided preference to all others which 
1 have given it in my school. 

Thy obliged friend 

Provincial School Mountmellick Francis Willis 

7th of 4th Month 1810. 

29i ‘At Middleton the pupils have the use of a small and, it is stated, well-assorted 
library, after the hours of school business’. — Report of Select Committee of House 
of Commons on Foundation Schools and Education in Ireland 1838. p. 60. The 
introduction of a school library at Mountmellick as early as 1793 was an innovation 
which would appear to be out of line with early Quaker ideas on general reading. 
In the preface to the Journal of George Fox published in 1694, William Penn 
advised his brethren to ‘Have but few books . . . indeed reading many books is 
taking the mind too much from meditation . . . much reading is an oppression of 
the mind, and extinguishes the natural candle, which is the reason of so many 
senseless scholars in the world’. — The Friends’ Library Philadelphia 1841. Vol. V. 
p. 299. Penn dealt with the question of education also in this preface, advising: 
‘Learn and teach your children fair writing, and the most useful parts of math- 
ematics, and some business when young whatever else they are taught. . . Choose 
God’s trades before man’s : Adam was a gardener, Cain a ploughman and Abel a 
grazier or shepherd; these began with the world, and have least of snare and most 
of use’. — op. cit. pp. 298-9. 

29B This Friend gave devoted service to the children of the School for thirty-five 
years. In 1821, having ‘arrived at an advanced age' and desiring ‘retirement to a 
place of less care and more seclusion’, she resigned from the post of superintendent 
and housekeeper and was succeeded by Sarah Carter. 

30 This was the Boarding School for Quaker girls opened by Anne Shannon in 
1787. The total inclusive fee for board and tuition at this school was 28 guineas 
a year. The school continued till 1826 and was availed of as a finishing school for 
girls from the Provincial School who, under the Rules of that school, were obliged 
to leave it at the age of fourteen. 



31 William Savery’s estimate of a total population of one hundred Quaker children 
in Mountmellick in 1798 is very likely correct, as, in addition to the two schools 
mentioned, there were two other Quaker schools in the town: one for girls kept 
by Anne Jane Beale, and one for boys kept by William Mullen — each of these 
schools was attended by a few Catholic children as well as by children of various 
Protestant denominations. 

32 Savery’s account of his journey from Rathangan gives some idea of the possible 
discomfort of approaching Mountmellick by post chaise in mid-winter in the days 
before the extension of the Grand Canal from Monasterevan : ‘Set off for 
Mountmellick, the weather being wet and stormy; before we got to Portarlington 
. . . one of the felloes of a wheel of our chaise broke; we walked into the town 
and hired a post chaise, but before we got a mile from thence our post chaise broke 
down in a very dirty place, Jane Watson, William Farren and myself in it. It rained 
very fast, and being invited, we went into a miserable cabin with little fire, where 
lived two wretched families with several children, to whom we gave some money, 
and they poured fourth a profusion of blessings as usual. Most of the poor being 
/Roman Catholics, their benedictions are often very singular. We had to stay a 
considerable time before another chaise could be procured, and were very cold, 
though well clad; yet most of the family were without shoes or stockings: I thought 
we ought not to complain, but be thankful. When we entered our third chaise, it 
still raining hard and the waters much raised, we were in some danger; but by going 
one mile round we arrived safely in the evening’. — The Friends’ Library op. cit. 
Vol. I. pp. 327-481. 

^DetaiLs of the studies and progress in 1801-2 of about a dozen boys set out 
in ff. 45-70 of the ‘Proceedings of the Committee appointed by the Quarterly Meeting 
of Leinster Province for instituting and superintending Provincial School in said 
Province’ (T.C.D. MS. Q. 2. 10.) do not refer to this School. The accompanying 
notes e.g. 2 9m. 1801 ‘The morning fair (avant dejeuner) we take a walk to the 
Rath of Mullanamast and to the dumplins’, and ‘took a walk to Narramore Wood’ 
suggest that this colourful brief record is in respect of a special class at Ballitore 
School. In the afternoon before St Martin’s day 1801 the whole class ‘went to gather 
Seed to Sow’, and on the day following it was noted that ‘an agreeable thaw invites 
us to unbind ourselves with the rest of creation — the softening air is balm!’. 

^Communicating his recollections to the organisers of the Centenary Celebrations 
at the School in 1886, a past pupil related that in his time (1836): ‘Boys and girls 
met in the dining-rooms for meals, and to hear the Scriptures read; but no further 
intercourse was allowed, and we never met in class, but with all the pains taken to 
maintain separation, little messages of love frequently passed between amateur 
lovers, though in no single instance did these little affairs come to anything in after 
life’. — Mary A. Townson in Centenary Handbook Dublin 1888. p. 29. 

35 In the records, the title Governor is frequently applied to the Superintendent, 
and that of Governess to the Lady Superintendent or Housekeeper. 

36 The plain language meant the use of thou and thee instead of you, for single 
persons. In the seventeenth century the use of you to a single person implied that 
that person was worth two others, hence the Quaker insistence that this was not 
truthful in speaking of one person. The plain language also meant using numerals 
for the days of the weeks and the months instead of ‘the heathen names’. — note 
by Miss Isabel Grubb. 

37 Rules for the Government of Leinster Provincial School. Dublin. Printed by 
Graisberry and Campbell, 10 Back-Lane. 1816. (Copy in R.I.A. Haliday Colin. 
Vol. 1092, also in Friends’ Archives Dublin 5 a(27) ). 

38 ‘The period of which we are writing appears to have been an unhappy one in 
the history of the school. Rumours were prevalent injurious to the institution. One 
incident may suffice to show that these were not without foundation. Such dis- 
tasteful food was provided for dinner that the boys on one occasion arranged to 
call out when it made its appearance John Bull and his old plum pudding — in 
allusion to the English superintendent’. — Mary A. Townson in Centenary Handbook 
op. cit. pp. 27-8. 

39 Joseph Thompson of Wexford, who was a pupil at the Provincial School during 
the years 1853-5, told, more than thirty years later, of the ‘great jealousy between 
the Provindigers and the Derrycappagh boys (Henry Luscombe’s); and if, through 


want of foresight, we met in the Meeting-house passage, a fight ensued; and as the 
Cappagh boys were great big fellows, and we were always the aggressors, we got 
the worst of it’. — Centenary Handbook, op. cit. p. 37. 

40 Writing in 1886, Joseph Thompson had happy recollections of his schooldays 
at Mountmellick : We played all the usual boys’ games, such as prisoner’s base, 
rounders, fives, for which we had a large alley; swimming, sliding, and skating, in 
their seasons; cricket and football were not much indulged in, probably because 
the school was too small to make two good sides to play these games properly. 
Another form of amusement was catching gudgeon in the Owenass, either with 
horse-hair snares, or in a wholesale fashion with bag-nets. Gudgeon have peculiar 
habits, different from other fish; being gregarious, they can be driven like sheep. 
I have at times helped to drive flocks of these fish from the bridge to the shoals 
under the wheel. The mode of catching was to drive them to a narrow place up 
current, then fix two converging rows of sods or stones, with a sack placed open- 
mouthed between, and held in place by sticks, and drive them in. Of course some 
fish would rebel against the operation; and as our appliances were not always perfect, 
the chances would be largely in favour of some of the more active fish getting off. 
The boys in charge of the sack would get too excited and draw it too soon, or not 
soon enough and fish would miss or back out; then there would be a scramble down 
stream to collect the missing ones. Of course the operation was done while wading, 
sometimes almost to the hip; condition of clothes was of no account. If the sack 
had a hole in it, most likely discovered at the last moment, a boy had only to stick 
his toe in it and hold on — the experience of sundry fish plunging round your toe 
was none of the nicest, as I well remember. To snare them, it was necessary to have 
a very long switch with a very fine top, a loop with running noose of horse-hair 
tied on to the top. Select your gudgeon, fat one of course, approach quietly, drop 
open noose into water, a little in front, draw very quietly towards him and over his 
head, then a quick jerk upwards towards the gills, and he is yours. It requires nerve 
and patience to catch many this way. 

These amusements were legitimate. Of those which were not so, I may mention 
bathing above the weir, going out of bounds, either into town or beyond the school- 
fields . . . the points of danger being the probability of meeting a teacher in the 
street or being seen from the parlour windows coming back. . . . Indoors, there 
were bolster fights and night expeditions down the lobbies and staircases. Centenary 
Handbook, op. cit. pp. 34-6. 

41 Endowed Schools Ireland Commission 1854-8. H.M.S.O. 1858. Vol. III. p. 211. 

For references required in the preparation of this paper the writer records his 
indebtedness to Miss E. Brereton, Mrs Olive C. Goodbody, Mr & Mrs J. R. W. 
Goulden, Miss Helen D. Jones, Mr Brinsley McNamara, and Mr W. J. O’Sullivan. 
In particular he desires to thank Miss Isabel Grubb, M.A., for a most helpful 
detailed commentary on the original draft submitted for her approval. Permission 
was readily given by the Leinster Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of 
Friends for the inclusion of relevant extracts from the minute books and papers 
in the care of the Historical Committee. 



By Arthur E. J. Went, Member 

In the past hundred years many ancient and interesting methods of 
fishing have disappeared in Ireland. Generally there were obvious reasons 
for them having done so. Ancient forms of salmon weirs, known as head 
weirs, were exceedingly common in the estuaries of a number of rivers 
along the south coast and, in particular, in Waterford Harbour, and in the 
tidal waters of the Rivers Slaney, Blackwater, Lee and Bandon. 1 These 
weirs, for the most part, were declared illegal by the Special Commis- 
sioners of Irish Fisheries in the sixties of last century and a single 
example, close to Buttermilk Castle, just north of Ballyhack, Co. Wexford, 
was left in operation. Even this weir has not been used for sixty years 
or so. In any case had these engines been permitted today their numbers 
would, no doubt, have decreased owing to the hardships under which the 
fishermen operated. Other engines have disappeared because of the high 
labour costs when compared with the financial returns. 

Large numbers of sprat weirs were used in the days gone by in Water- 
ford Harbour. Many of these have now gone out of existence because, 
apart from the great amount of labour involved, the material required for 
their construction is now only procurable at great cost. The term “sprat 
weir” is misleading, since nowadays sprats form only a small part of the 
fishes caught by the weirs, so it would perhaps be better to call them 
“white-fish” weirs. One thing is certain, they do not take adult salmon, 
which are too active to be caught by this method of fishing, although 
salmon fry Would be taken in quantity if the weirs were fished during the 
run of smolts to the sea. There is, in fact, a tradition in the area that 
the sprat weirs are not fished from 20th April for a period of two months. 
This period usually covers the smolt run and the stocks of salmon are 
not, therefore, interfered with to any extent. 

In the beginning of 1949, between Passage East and Ballyhack on the 
south and Little Island, just east of Waterford City, there were 16 sprat 
weirs in existence and their situations are shown in Fig. 1. There were, in 
addition, large numbers of derelict weirs. That these weirs have survived 
is due probably to the simplicity of construction when compared with 
some of the older weirs in the Cork Blackwater. 2 Two types of weirs 
exist in this area, namely, ebb weirs and flood weirs, the former being 
more numerous than the latter (Fig. 1.). The only difference in construction 

1 See Went, J.R.S.A.l. Ixxvi (1946) 176-94, and Ixxviii (1948) 1-4. 

2 Went. “An ancient fish-weir at Ballynatray, Co. Waterford, Ireland.” Antiquity, 
xxv, 32-5 (March 1951). 



is that the ebb weir is directed downstream, whereas the flood weir is 
directed upstream. 

For the most part the bed of Waterford Harbour is deep soft mud and 
into this at suitable places long poles, similar to the old fashioned scaffold 
poles, are driven in vertically in two lines which run across the current. A 
gap of about 6 feet wide (this varies from weir to weir) is left where the 
poles approach one another closest and over the gap a platform is con- 
structed. To the lower part of the poles, which are usually 1-2 feet apart 

Fig. 1. Sketch map showing the situation of serviceable sprat 
weirs in 1949. 

in portions of the arms remote from the gap, netting or wire mesh or 
twigs may be attached. A long conical net attached to two long poles is 
fished in the gap. (Plate VI). 

It is well known that with a rising tide many kinds of fishes tend to 
move onshore or up an estuary and when the tide turns the fish drop 
downstream again. The so-called sprat weirs of this type take advantage 
of this habit of fishes. Fishes dropping downstream with the falling tide 
finding themselves between the converging walls of the weir seldom 
attempt to swim out of the space between the two arms of the weir 
and they eventually find their way into the conical net. Once in the net 
they seldom leave it. The weir is usually fished from a row-boat by the 
tail or cod end of the net being taken aboard and the net emptied. As 

Plate VI] 

[To face page 92 

Views of sprat weirs in neighbourhood of Checkpoint, Co. Waterford 
(taken in 1949). In both cases the net is not in fishing position. 

Plate VII] 

[To face page 93 

Sculptured Cross-base at Oldcourt, near Bray, Co. Wicklow 



this type of weir works automatically during the ebb tide, the operation 
takes little time. It is the construction and maintenance which require long 
hours of arduous labour. Flood weirs are similar in character except that 
being directed upstream they only take fish on the flood tide. Naturally 
the most favourable time for fishing the net is the turn of the tide, i.e. at 
dead low water for ebb weirs and high tide for flood weirs. 

Fish taken by these weirs are of good quality and consist of sprats, 
herrings, mackerel, whiting, codling, pollack, coalfish, flounders, plaice, 
dabs, soles, bass, mullet and a few other species. In addition, many non- 
commercial species are taken from time to time. Apparently in days gone 
by the weirs were operated mainly for the sprats, which occurred towards 
the second half of the year in this locality. Nowadays, however, sprats are 
of less value than the other species. Catches of fish naturally vary from 
day to day and month to month but taking the year as a whole the 
fishing appears to be well worthwhile to the fishermen engaged. 

These engines must be regarded as of ancient lineage and there is 
evidence that some have been for very long periods on the same sites. 
Their ancient origin was fully recognised by the Fisheries (Ireland) Act of 
1842, Section 39 of which permitted their use, subject to certain restric- 
tions, during the annual close season for salmon. In the past these weirs 
appear to have given large numbers of fishermen a good living but 
whether they will continue to do so is doubtful. Nevertheless, as many 
of the weirs operated recently have been repaired, it seems that for the 
next few years, at least, there is little likelihood of these engines going 
out of existence entirely. 


The Megalith at Clogherny, Tyrone. Professor O’Kelly, in the report on his 

excavation of a wedge-shaped grave at Island ( J.R.S.A.l . Ixxxviii (1958) 
p.l) suggests a comparison with Clogherny Meenerrigal ( U.J.A . ii (1939) 
p.37) and surmises that the cairn of the latter would originally have 
extended as far as the ring of spaced uprights. This raises the question 
whether megalithic cairns were bounded by a wall or sloped down to 
ground-level. The Island cairn is reconstructed, with some plausibility, in 
the latter form, the circle of small stones marking the edge of the cairn 
instead of being a true kerb. Some of the northern wedge-shaped graves, 
like Largantea and Loughash, could have sloped down to ground-level, 
the kerb indicated being really an interior revetment. The excavators did 
not look for an outer ring, nor were conditions favourable for its discovery 
after the tillage of the surrounding land. 

Clogherny however is different, and it is unlikely that the circle of 
uprights ever bounded the cairn. Though it might fall into the family of 
wedge-shaped graves, it has degenerated to something near the megalithic 
cist, like Lisky (Tyrone). The stones of the circle are four or five feet 
high, while those at Island are thought, according to the reconstruction, 
to have been not more than a few inches; this is probable, from the 
shallowness of some of their pits. At Clogherny, the circle-stones are 
10-14 feet from the edge of the cairn as determined, so it appears that, 
if Professor O’Kelly is right, the following amount of cairn has been lost: 

Between cairn-edge and circle (30 2 yr — 16 2 n) x 4 = 8000 ft. 3 

Top of outer part of cairn, a small amount, perhaps 200 

Approximate total 8200 ft. 3 

As Clogherny was covered by several feet of turf and had been sealed 
for a long time, and as it lies on unwalled moorland country, this 
enormous disappearance of cairn probably before the Christian era is 

In the publication of Clogherny I referred to passage-graves surrounded 
by free-standing circles of stones. I still think that this is the easiest 
interpretation of the monument. It will be noted that the stones round the 
Island grave are not thought to have formed a circle, but a U-shaped 
peristalith with sides concentric with the chamber and inner revetment, 
and in addition the segment of a circle in front of the entrance, reminis- 
cent of the complete circles into which the forecourts of homed cairns 
sometimes developed. 

O. Davies 




1 -7 r r rrrrrrT'-' 

y >r?^ 

' v - 






"f *N 



10 0 10 50 


300 feet 





Fig. 1 




Sculptured Cross-base at Oldcourt, near Bray, Co. Wicklow. The photo- 
graphs of this stone which are reproduced on Plate VII were taken 
recently by Mile. F. Henry. Fig. 1, the face which is illustrated by her in 
La Sculpture Irlandaise (PI. 97, 6), shows a little additional detail. Fig. 2 
shows the adjoining face, which has not been previously illustrated; the 
sculptures of Fig. 1 appear on the right. The third sculptured face is 
shown in La Sculpture Irlandaise, Plate 97, 1. The fourth face has no 
carving except the raised line which forms the top border of the upper 
panel on the other faces. It is difficult to say why one side of the stone 
should be without decoration; one is led to wonder whether it was 
intended to stand against a wall, or whether the work was left 

L. Price. 

Rathealy Fort, Co. Kilkenny. This great circular fort, which the Society 
visited during the Summer Excursion, has been described shortly in 
Carrigan’s Diocese of Ossory (III 496), and recently by Mrs. Healy in the 
Old Kilkenny Review (IV (1951) 12), but no plan of it has been 
published. These earth monuments are so easily destroyed that it seemed 
desirable to get it measured, so Mrs. Phelan, Vice-Chairman of the Kil- 
kenny Archaeological Society, our Local Secretary, made the necessary 
arrangements, and she has now forwarded the plan and section which 
are shown in the figure; these have been made by Mr. Coffey, County 
Surveyor, Co. Kilkenny, who surveyed the fort in September. 

To emphasise the height of the banks, the contours have been 
exaggerated in the section by increasing the vertical scale to about four 
times the horizontal. 

During the party’s visit to the site Mr. Walsh pointed out the place 
where, according to tradition, there is a ‘cave’ or underground chamber; 
Carrigan mentions it, and says that it is beneath the foundations of a 
house, and that there is an entrance to it on the east side of the fort. 
The traditional site of the ‘cave’ is where ‘Ruins’ is marked on the Plan. 




Irish Churches & Monastic Buildings: II: Gothic Architecture to 

A.D. 1400. By H. G. Leask. Dundalgan Press, W. Tempest Ltd. 

1958. 35/-. 

The history of early Irish Architecture has been a subject long neglected 
both by authors and publishers, and in fact, no fully comprehensive or 
authoritative work on the subject had been published until 1955 when Dr. 
Leask brought out Volume One of his ‘Irish Churches and Monastic 
Buildings’. This volume dealt with the progress of Ecclesiastical Architec- 
ture from the earliest times up to the development of the Irish 
Romanesque Style in the twelfth century. It was the author’s original 
intention to conclude his work in a second volume dealing with the Gothic 
Period, but, as can well be appreciated, as the work progressed it was 
found that the subject was too extensive for finalization in a single 
volume. It was decided, therefore, to devote Volume Two, which is now 
published, to the Period of the Transition from Romanesque to Gothic 
Architecture, dating from roughly the middle of the twelfth century to the 
end of the fourteenth century, leaving the period of final development of 
the Gothic Style for completion at a later date. 

Volume Two begins with an interesting study of the monastic way of 
life in Ireland at the middle of the twelfth century, and of the manner in 
which it influenced the design of monastic buildings. The Cistercians, 
coming as they did from England early in the century where the pointed 
arch of the Gothic Style had just made its appearance, may be said to 
have introduced the new constructional forms to Ireland. Their buildings 
at Baltinglass, Jerpoint and Boyle, among others so beautifully described 
and illustrated by Dr. Leask, reflect the characteristics of the early 
Transitional Period. It is fascinating to see here recorded and analysed 
the various stages in architectural progress, and to note how the builders 
of the time, while adopting and developing new constructional methods, 
always succeeded in achieving those qualities of dignity and harmony 
which their buildings display. Ecclesiastical builders of to-day have surely 
much to learn from those early craftsmen. 

But the native tradition of the Romanesque was slow to die, and in the 
more remote regions of the West a transitional phase of distinctive 
characteristics lingered long. In Killaloe Cathedral, Corcomroe Abbey, the 
Augustinian Abbey at Cong, and Kilmacduagh, we see examples of what 
Dr. Leask describes as the ‘School of the West’. In Clonfert Cathedral — 
that masterpiece of the Romanesque, so beautifully described in Volume 
One — he here ascribes the distinctive pair of windows in the Chancel to 
this period of the Transition. 



Perhaps the earliest building of purely Gothic character in Ireland was 
Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, on which building work started at the 
beginning of the thirteenth century. It is interesting to note that it was 
built by English Masons with Somersetshire oolite. The description of 
this building and the comparative study of St. Patrick’s Cathedral are most 
valuable contributions to Dublin’s architectural history. 

The Abbey of Graiguenamanagh, dating from the same period as 
Christchurch, has many points of similarity in detail, but though largely 
Gothic in character, still displayed some Romanesque features such as 
the fine Processional doorway. Sad it is to think that, just as with many 
another ancient building in the country, parts of the extensive claustral 
ruins at Graiguenamanagh are in use to-day as stores and farm buildings. 
It is to be hoped that publication of Dr. Leask’s book may help to 
awaken the national conscience towards the need for a greater effort to 
preserve our historic monuments. 

As a development of the Lancet Style, the early Dominican Church at 
Cashel, built about 1243, has a remarkable row of nine evenly spaced 
lancets which the author suggests may have inspired the enfilades of piers 
and lights which were later to become so popular a feature. 

By the second half of the thirteenth century the last traces of 
Romanesque influence had begun to wane, and the period is represented 
by such fine Gothic Buildings as Kilkenny Cathedral, Ardfert Cathedral, 
Gowran Church, the Franciscan Church at Buttevant, and the Dominican 
Churches at Sligo and Roscommon. 

With the coming of the fourteenth century there was a slackening of 
building activity, and most of the work of the period is observed in 
alterations and additions to existing buildings. The Author says that the 
earliest example of “switch line” window tracery is seen in the East 
windows of the three Chapels at Castledermot Friary, dating probably 
from about 1302. Many fine traceried windows were to follow, the earlier 
work having rather heavier mullions, such as the South windows of the 
Choir in Old Leighlin Cathedral and the East windows of the 
Augustinian Friary at Adare. Later and more elaborate windows are 
those in the Dominican Churches at Athenry and Kilkenny. 

Reference is made to the well known “Irish” stepped battlements, such 
as those at Kildare Cathedral, a form unknown in England and France, 
and Dr. Leask interestingly suggests that they may have derived from 
similar features seen by pilgrims travelling through the Roussillon and 
Catalonian districts of Northern Spain. 

The sketches and photographs are admirably chosen to illustrate the 
text, but if one could voice a regret it would be that the number of 
marginal sketches — a beautiful feature which Dr. Leask made so 
peculiarly his own in his “Irish Castles” — has had in this work, as the 
Author points out, to be reduced to the essential minimum. Throughout 
the book the placing of the buildings in their context of time and 
Architectural development is excellent, and the manner in which the text 



carries the story down the centuries is something of a literary achievement. 

But perhaps the outstanding value of this book lies in its analytical 
approach to the building technique of the time. For Dr. Leask is first and 
foremost a practising Architect, one who not only can appreciate the 
merit of architectural design, but who can understand and analyse the 
basic constructional forms which gave to medieval architecture its quality 
of dynamic grace and beauty. 

In setting on record in his “Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings” 
what is obviously the result of a lifetime of experience and research on 
the subject, one feels that Dr. Leask has been engaged on a labour of 
love, but in so doing he has placed all who are interested in the ancient 
Architecture of Ireland very deeply in his debt. 

F. F. 

Early Christian Ireland. M. & L. de Paor. London: Thames and 
Hudson. 1958. 25/-. 

O Rfordain’s Antiquities of the Irish Countryside is established as the 
vade-mecum of all who visit early sites in Ireland with intelligent interest 
but without specialised knowledge. But what is such a visitor to read, 
after he has seen Clonmacnoise and Monasterboice, and looked at the 
Tara Brooch and the Cross of Cong in the National Museum? Two of 
O Rfordain’s pupils have now provided us with the ideal book for such 
a purpose. Early Christian Ireland, by Maire and Liam de Paor, gives a 
direct account of the everyday life of the people, the monastic life of the 
saintS 3 the art treasures of the monasteries and palaces, the peaceful 
relationships with the Roman world, the violent assaults from the Viking 
world — all in one hundred and seventy short pages. Within such a limit 
there is no room to set out alternative points of view and discuss their 
merits; dogmatic statements are made — the Book of Durrow was written 
in Northumbria, Cormac’s Chapel is the earliest building of the 
Romanesque style in Ireland. But such directness was essential if the 
narrative thread was not to be lost, and the specialist who wishes to 
probe more deeply will find a bibliography of one hundred and seventy- 
six items providing up-to-date information. If the text is brief, this is 
compensated for by the lavishness of the well-chosen illustrations. There 
are forty-six gravure plates and thirty-six figures. Some of the plates are 
brilliant. Never before has the detailed beauty of the Ardagh Chalice, or 
the sureness of touch in the human face inset in the Killua Castle 
Shrine been so fully revealed. The authors, the general editor and the 
publishers are to be congratulated on a very satisfying book. 

G. F. M. 



Scotland Before History; Stuart Piggott; Edinburgh (Nelson); 15/-; 


Professor Piggott and his artist collaborator Mr. Keith Henderson have 
produced a most attractive “long essay” on Scotland’s prehistory. The 
amateur will find his interest carried along by the easy narrative, while 
the professional will assent to, or quarrel with, the asides thrown out en 
route. We find the loose toga of the Mediterranean ingeniously contrasted 
with the well-fitting trousers of the cold north-west (p.57). About 
cremation burials in cemeteries Piggott says (p.64) “Some have no surface 
indications to-day, though when in use the graves must have been 
marked in some way to avoid disturbance by later burials”; in country 
graveyards to-day there is no squeamishness about throwing up the bones 
of the departed in digging the modern graves — why should we think that 
our ancestors were more careful? We get a vivid picture of the Celtic 
world, which in 250 B.C. stretched from Ireland to Asia Minor (p.90). 

Mr. Henderson’s effective drawings have a fluctuating relevance to the 
text they illustrate. But his Iron Age pictures, the war trumpet, the god 
wearing a torque, the idols from Ballachulish and Bernera, convey well 
the feeling that the gods, as seen by the Celts, were beings full of hatred 
and contempt for mankind. 

G. F. M. 

The Strafford Inquisition of County Mayo (R.I.A. MS. 24 E 15). 
Edited by William O’Sullivan. Dublin : Irish Manuscripts Commis- 
sion. 1958. £1 10s. 

A jury of Mayo landowners met at Ballinrobe on 31 July 1635, sum- 
moned by Lord Deputy Wentworth (Strafford as he later became) to find 
the king’s title to their county. They dutifully complied and in the course 
of their proceedings described the ownership of the land during the pre- 
ceding ten years. A copy of this description, apparently made at the end 
of the seventeenth or early in the eighteenth century, came into the 
possession of George Petrie, the well-known antiquary, who sold it to 
the Royal Irish Academy. The text has been carefully and competently 
edited by Mr. O’Sullivan, with indexes of persons and places and also of 
subjects — castles and their barbicans, monasteries, fisheries and other 
items of particular interest. 

Read with Dr. Simington’s recent Book of Survey and Distribution for 
County Mayo the Strafford Inquisition is a most valuable source for a 
number of aspects of Mayo life in the seventeenth century. Dr. Simington’s 
text shows the quality and area of the various lands and who owned them 
in 1641. The Inquisition shows their ownership not only in 1635 but as 
it had changed over the previous ten years. The purchases and mortgages 
of Galway merchants can be seen encroaching on the traditional types 
of ownership. Purchase-prices are given and particulars of mortgages, 



many of which took the form of cattle or horses as well as of cash. 
There are interesting details of payments in kind due to Lord Mayo, for 
instance ‘a beef, forty quarts of butter, a basin of meal and a basin of 
malt’. Abbey lands are listed with the names of their new owners, and 
there are many references to manors and mills. 

Place-names mostly correspond to those in the Book of Survey and 
Distribution, but quite a number are to be found only in the Inquisition, 
and the two sources vary significantly in the forms given to many names. 
Genealogists will find much to interest them in particulars of dowagers, 
minors and other details of family relationship. Most of the names are 
those of old Gaelic families, but there are many branches of Bourkes 
together with an admixture of Galway ‘tribes’, Elizabethans such as Bing- 
ham and Browne, and such recent intruders as the Boyles. 

We should be grateful to the Irish Manuscripts Commission for making 
available in close succession two valuable sources for the history of Mayo 
in the seventeenth century — a subject that has so far been altogether 
neglected and can now be taken up by the local historian. 

J. G. S. 

Sources of Irish Local History: 1st Series. By Thomas P. O’Neill. 

Library Association of Ireland, Dublin. 1958. 3s. 6d. 

About the year 1900 Lord Walter Fitzgerald drew up a short 
circular for the members of the County Kildare Archaeological Society with 
the object of encouraging them to write articles on local history; he 
mentioned a number of likely subjects, and then gave a five-page list of 
printed sources which they would find useful, comprising the Annals, 
official records, wills and maps, and some well-known books. As well as 
being the Society’s Hon. Secretary, he wrote a great many articles for 
their Journal; his list was based on his own experience, and it was a 
useful guide to the sources then available. When Scott wrote The Stones 
of Bray in 1913 he made a few additions, but not many, in his list of 
authorities cited. 

Now Mr. O’Neill has given us an up-to-date guide to the sources, in 
which he calls attention to the many works of reference which have been 
produced since those days, beginning with Kenney’s monumental Sources 
for the Early History of Ireland, which, to our great loss, was never com- 
pleted. Incidentally, it is surprising that after the destruction of the 
Record Office in 1922 so much material is still available; for this we owe 
a tribute to the work of past generations of scholars. Mr. O’Neill points 
out that the eight chapters he prints here are not a full guide to the 
sources; he promises that he will follow this up with a second series. No 
doubt he will include the important collection of pedigrees which may be 
seen in Kuno Meyer’s publication of the facsimile of the manuscript 
Rawlinson B 502; the indexes which Meyer has added are very valuable. 



Besides the general warning about the evaluation of sources which is 
given in the introduction, Mr. O’Neill often adds a word of caution about 
a particular item or about sources of a particular kind — a most useful 
feature, for the local historian sometimes tends to copy without checking 
what he has found. A great amount of work has gone into the compiling 
of these 38 pages, and the booklet can be unhesitatingly recommended. 

L. P. 

The High Crosses of Western Ossory. By Helen M. Roe. Kilkenny 
Archaeological Society, 1958. pp. 43. 3/-. 

Although the two magnificent sculptured crosses at Ahenny, Co. 
Tipperary, are relatively well known, at least to those with an interest in 
Irish antiquities, the other crosses which go with them to make the Ossory 
group tend to escape attention. Miss Helen Roe has, therefore, done a ser- 
vice to the interested tourist and to the professional archaeologist alike by 
giving, in the booklet under review, a complete description, very fully and 
beautifully illustrated, of all the monuments in this well defined group at 
the foot of Slievenaman. There are seven crosses — at Ahenny, Kilkieran, 
Killamery, Kilree — as well as a shaft carved in a similar manner at 
Tybroughney. The group as a whole is discussed first and then the author 
deals with each site in turn, giving what is known of it in history and 
legend and then clearly and systematically describing the crosses and their 

In her description of the figured scenes, which are subordinate in these 
crosses to abstract ornament. Miss Roe’s approach is excellent, for 
although she presents the various interpretations which have been 
advanced by local tradition and scholarly speculation she points out that 
these carvings are part of an illustrative art widespread in the early 
medieval Christian world from Scotland to Byzantium. Her approach to 
dating is equally reasonable and the author places the crosses in their 
obvious cultural context of eighth century Irish art. A short bibliography 
indicates further reading and here one might suggest the addition of the 
paper by the late Professor 6 Riordain on ‘The Genesis of the Celtic 
Cross’. If one can point to a flaw in the uniformly excellent photographs 
it is that the omission of the background in the general views of the 
crosses gives no hint of the charm of their setting. This booklet can be 
thoroughly recommended and it is excellent value for 3/-. 

M. de P. 

Wessex. By J. F. S. Stone. London: Thames and Hudson, 1958. 25/-. 

This is Volume 9 in the series “Ancient Peoples and Places” under the 
general editorship of Dr. Glyn E. Daniel. The book under review main- 
tains the high standard of the series in scholarship and lavishness of 
illustration (72 plates, 17 text figures and 5 maps). The marginal 



references to the illustrations will be appreciated and, if in a few cases 
(pp. Ill and 112) they do not always appear to illustrate the exact point 
discussed in the text, this is understandable. 

Wessex, a natural region in southern England, centred on Salisbury 
Plain, has ever been the forcing-bed of British prehistory. Geologically, it 
is open, chalk country, ideal for primitive agriculture, an area of easy 
settlement. From Mesolithic times onwards, because of its excellent 
riverine and coastal communications, it straddled the great trade route 
from the Aegean to the Atlantic coast. Thus, although lacking in the basic 
raw materials and without a great industrial tradition, Wessex, owing to 
its unique position, became a major entrepot while its people waxed 
prosperous as a “nation of shopkeepers”, traders rather than heroes. 

To carry the story of so rich an area over eight thousand years within 
the scope of 150 or so pages, must, inevitably, mean some sacrifice of 
detail. Within the coniines of Wessex are six of the great causewayed 
camps (including the type site. Windmill Hill), one hundred and sixty 
Long Barrows or family tombs (ten actually within a two-mile radius of 
Stonehenge), countless ritual sites and “henges” and six thousand Round 
Barrows, and, in addition, Stonehenge and Avebury. 

Dr. Stone has done an excellent job of synthesis, well set out with a 
selective and up-to-the-minute bibliography for the serious student. The 
general reader will rejoice in a text unencumbered by distracting footnotes 
and will find more than ample compensation in the intelligent “notes on 
the plates” at the end of the book. Chapters VII and VIII on Stonehenge, 
summarised from Atkinson’s recent book, and the disentanglement of the 
various constructional stages of the great temple, read like a detective 
story. It is worth noting in passing that C.14 dating of Stonehenge I, 
1848 ±275 B.C., gives a fairly generous margin of error. The best that 
can be claimed for it is that it allows the archaeologically determined 
date of 1900 — 1700 B.C. to fit comfortably within its termini. 

Piggott’s researches on barrow burials some twenty years ago, when 
he isolated and defined one of the most remarkable episodes in British 
prehistory, namely, the Wessex Culture of the Early Bronze Age, is 
lucidly treated in Chapter IX. Irish readers will feel at home in this 
period. It was a time of close contacts with Ireland and Irish influence is 
strikingly evident in the metal types. Finally, Dr. Stone’s remarks on the 
faience trade (pp. 115 flf.), on which he was an authority, will interest 
Irish students. A slight ripple of this Bronze Age export-trade from the 
Aegean world is felt in Ireland, first, by the discovery of a single bead of 
faience in a grave at Ballyduff, Co. Wexford, and in more dramatic form 
by the finding of five segmented beads in a necklace around the neck of 
a youth during the late Professor Sean P. 6 Rfordain’s excavation on the 
Mound of the Hostages at Tara in 1956. 

P. J. H. 



Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. Part I 
— Vol. LXII, No. 195. January — June, 1957. Part II — Vol. LXII, 
No. 196. July — December, 1957. 

The opening article in Part I of the Journal is Castle Inch, Co. Cork, 
by E. M. Fahy, M.A. This article is the second of a series dealing with 
the ancient monuments damaged or destroyed in the Lee Valley as a 
result of the Hydro-electric Development Scheme. John T. Collins 
publishes a number of extracts from the thirteenth volume of Calendars 
of the Papal Letters to England, Scotland and Ireland, which deal with 
church administration in Cork and the neighbouring counties from 1471 to 
1484, and adds some explanatory comments. Part I: 1803 — 1826, of an 
account of the Royal Cork Institution is given by Margaret MacSweeney 
and Joseph Reilly. Canon Cahalane publishes a Supplement to ‘The 
Testament of John de Wynchedon of Cork (1306)’, which contributes 
further points relating to the churches, the clergy, the recluse and leper 
hospitals. The full Latin text of the ‘Testament’, a translation into English, 
and annotations on various points of interest, were published in the last 
number of the Journal by Mr. Denis O’Sullivan. Extracts from the 
Register of the Boys of St. Stephen’s Hospital, Corke, covering admissions 
from 1773 to 1802 are published by M. V. Conlon. This issue of the 
Journal contains an Obituary Notice of the late Professor Sean P. 6 
Riordain by Michael J. O’Kelly. 

The final article in the series dealing with the antiquities damaged or 
destroyed in the Lee Valley as a result of the Hydro-electric Development 
Scheme is given in Part II of the Journal. In it E. M. Fahy, M.A. deals 
with Inishleena, a supposed early monastery, a fulacht fiadh at 
Mashanaglas, standing stones at Carrigadrochid and Dunisky and a bullan 
at Macloneigh. The concluding part of the article on the Royal Cork 
Institution, Part II: 1826 — 1849, is given by Margaret MacSweeney and 
Joseph Reilly. J. T. Collins publishes Gleanings from Old Cork Papers, 
and there is an interesting paper on the Art and Mystery of Brewing (in 
Cork) by W. H. Welply. 

Reportorium Novum. Dublin Diocesan Historical Record. Volume II. 

No. 1. 1957-8. 

The opening article of this issue of Reportorium Novum is an account 
of Dublin Diocesan Archives by Mgr. Michael J. Curran. These Dublin 
Records have been transferred from Archbishop’s House to more spacious 
and suitable accommodation in the new wing of Clonliffe College. Profes- 
sor Joseph Szoverffy, in the Anglo-Norman Conquest of Ireland and St. 
Patrick, discusses the episode in Jocelin’s Life of St. Patrick which links 
Dublin with Ireland’s National Apostle. An account and description of a 
MS. in Cambridge University Library which formerly belonged to the 
medieval chapter of St. Patrick’s, Dublin are given by Geoffrey Hand. 




From Manuscript Sources relating to the Liturgy in Dublin, 1200 — 1500, 
Fr. William Hawkes reconstructs, in part at least, the particular forms the 
Liturgy took, both in the diocese and in a few of the more important 
religious foundations in Dublin, over a period of some three hundred 
years. There is an interesting account of the Holy Wells of County Dublin 
by Caoimhin 6 Danachair. Catholic Families of the Pale by Rev. John 
Kingston include the Fitzwilliams of Merrion, Talbot de Malahide, the 
Fagans of Feltrim, and the Plunketts of Portmarnock. An alphabetical list 
of priests who laboured in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Dublin 
during the 17th century is published by Rev. W. M. O’Riordan. The 
Parish of Ballymore Eustace, 1791, by Rev. William Hawkes, gives 
interesting information about the dedications and patron-days of the old 
churches in the parish, the location, extent and boundaries of the union, 
as well as some religious and educational statistics. A well-deserved 
tribute to Dr. Cornelius Nary, parish priest of St. Michan’s from 1703 to 
1738, during the worst of the Penal days, is given by Rev. John Meagher 
in Glimpses of 18th Century Dublin Priests. Instructions, Admonitions, 
etc., of Archbishop Carpenter, 1770 — 1786, by Mgr. Curran, cover the 
whole period of the Archbishop’s episcopate from his consecration in 
1770 to within eight weeks of his death in 1786. Cuireann an t-Athair 
Tomas 6 Fiaich i gclo Dan ar an Chleir i bPriosun i mBaile Atha Cliath 
— 1708. An t-Athair Peadar Mac Suibhne has articles on the Early Cullen 
Family, and Other Cullen Tombstones. Notes and Queries include: the 
Heraldic Practice of the Archbishops of Dublin, Roger Nottingham, a 
Baptismal Certificate from St. Audoen’s, 1677, Dr. Michael Moore, Dr. 
Troy’s Baptism, Dr. Carpenter’s Birthplace, Crottipatrick, and Dublin 
Ecclesiastical Centenaries, 1957 — 1958. 

Proceedings of the Irish Catholic Historical Committee 1956 & 
1957. Dublin : M. H. Gill and Son, Ltd., 50 Upper O’Connell Street, 
Dublin. Price 2/- per issue. 

“The Church in Ireland in the Fifteenth Century” in the 1956 issue, 
consists of five papers: “Diocesan Organization: Kerry”, by Very Rev. J. 
O’Connell, P.P., “Diocesan Organization: Clonfert,” by Rev. 
Patrick Egan, C.C., “Diocesan Organization: Cloyne,” by Rev. Denis 
Buckley, “Mediaeval Cathedral Chapters,” by Geoffrey Hand, M.A., and 
“Summing-up,” by Rev. Patrick J. Corish, M.A., D.D. “Irish Ecclesias- 
tical History and the Papal Archives” comprises : “Introduction,” by Rev. 
Patrick J. Corish, M.A., D.D., “The Archives of the Sacred Congregation de 
Propaganda Fide,” by Rev. Benignus Millet, O.F.M., and “The Archives 
of the Nunziatura di Fiandra,” by Rev. Cathaldus Giblin, O.F.M. In the 
1957 issue “The Cura Animarum in the Seventeenth Century” contains the 
following papers : “The Irish Colleges in Europe and the Counter- 
Reformation,” by Rev. John Brady, B.A., “The Reorganization of the 



Irish Church, 1603-41,” by Rev. Patrick J. Corish, M.A., D.D., “The 
Irish Franciscan Mission to Scotland, 1619-47,” by Rev. Cathaldus Giblin, 
O.F.M., and “Sources for the History of the Clergy of a Diocese: 
Seventeenth-Century Clogher,” by Rev. Patrick Gallagher, B.A. This issue 
concludes with “A Handlist of Irish Diocesan Histories.” In it are 
assembled in alphabetical order of the Catholic dioceses of today printed 
works and it includes works dealing with the history of dioceses of the 
Church of Ireland where these contain relevant matter. 


July to December, 1958. 

Meetings of the Society were held as follows : — 

5. July 4, 1958 . — Quarterly Meeting at the Technical School, Kilkenny, 
at 8 o’clock p.m. Chairman: G. F. Mitchell, M.A., F.T.C.D., President. 
One member was advanced to fellowship, and one fellow and eight 
members were elected. 

A symposium on the sites to be visited during the summer excursion 
was held at which the speakers were Dr. H. G. Leask, Mrs. Kenealy, 
Mrs. Lanigan, Miss H. M. Roe, Mr. P. F. Nyhan, Miss E. Prendergast, 
Mrs. Healy, Mr. P. J. Hartnett and Mr. Owen O’Kelly. 

Before the meeting a Civic Reception to Kilkenny was accorded to 
the Society by the Mayor and Corporation and the Society was welcomed 
on behalf of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society by Mrs. M. M. Phelan, 

6. September 23, 1958 . — Quarterly Meeting at the Society’s House at 
8 o’clock p.m. Chairman: District Justice Liam Price, Past President. 
Three members were elected. 

A. T. Lucas, Hon. Gen. Secretary, delivered an illustrated lecture 
entitled “Furze and its Uses: an Adventure in Rural Economics.” 

7. November 4, 1958. — Ordinary meeting at the Society’s House at 8 
o’clock p.m. Chairman: G. F. Mitchell, M.A., F.T.C.D., President. 

A lecture-recital on the Music of Carolan was given by Dr. Donal 
O’Sullivan, Fellow, with Miss Veronica Kennedy, soprano, and Miss 
Sheila Larchet, harpist. 

8. December 9, 1958. — Statutory Meeting at the Society’s House at 8 
o’clock p.m. Chairman: G. F. Mitchell, M.A., F.T.C.D., President. Seven 
members were elected. 

Vacancies were declared for the offices of President, Hon. General 
Secretary, 2 Hon. Treasurers and 3 Members of Council. 

Professor M. J. O’Kelly, Vice-President, delivered an illustrated lecture 
entitled “A Gallery Grave at Shanballyedmond.” 

The Summer Excursion was held from July 4 to 8 with Kilkenny City 
as centre. The Autumn Excursion was held on September 27 in North 
County Dublin and Co. Meath. The details of these excursions will be 
found in the Report of the Council for 1958. 





. G. F. Mitchell, M.A., F.T.C.D. 

Past Presidents .. 

Dr. H. G. Leask. 

Rev. Dr. John Ryan, S.J. 

District Justice Liam Price. 

Vice-Presidents . 

Lady Dorothy Lowry-Corry (Ulster). 

Professor M. J. O’Kelly (Munster). 

Professor R. de Valera ( Leinster ). 

Patrick Tohall (Connacht). 

Honorary General Secretary — A. T. Lucas. 
Honorary Treasurers — John Maher, B. J. Cantwell. 

Members of Council. 

Miss G. C. Stacpoole; R. E. Cross; Dr. Maire de Paor; F. Foley; Mrs. H. G. 
Leask; Dr. F. S. Bourke; Caoimhm 6 Danachair; Professor Dudley 
Edwards; Professor J. J. Tierney; Dermot O’Clery; Con 6 Cleirigh; 
Professor J. C. Brindley. 






Vol. LXXXIX, Part II 



The Sources of Moore’s Melodies — by Veronica nf Chinneide ... 109 

James Cotter, a Seventeenth-Century Agent of the Crown — 

by Brian 6 Cuiv ... ... ... ... ... 135 

Rock-basins, or ‘ Bullauns ’, at Glendalough and Elsewhere — 
by Liam Price ... ... ... ... ... 161 

The Decipherment of the Mycenaean Script — A Notice — by 

Donald M. Nicol ... ... ... ... ... 189 

Miscellanea : 

Some Unpublished Antiquities of the Early Christian Period 

in Dublin Area (P. 6 hEailidhe) ... ... ... 205 

Book Reviews: 

Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper, by 

Donal O’Sullivan ... ... ... ... ... 208 

The Celts, by T. G. E. Powell ... ... ... ... 210 

The Ancient and Historic Monuments of the Isle of Man ... 210 

A Guide to Cregneash: the Manx Open-Air Folk Museum ... 211 

Handbook on the Traditional Old Irish Dress, by H. F. 

McClintock ... ... ... ... ... 211 

Analecta Hibernica, No. 20. Survey of Documents in Private 
Keeping, 2nd Series, by John F. Ainsworth and Edward 
MacLysaght _ ... ... ... ... ... 212 

Reviews of Journals ... ... ... ... ... 213 

Report of Council for 1958 ... ... ... ... 217 

Statement of Accounts for 1958 ... ... ... ... 222 

List of Societies from whom Publications are Received Back Cover 

The Journal is published half-yearly. 

The Annual Subscription for Members of the Society is £2, for 
Fellows £3, payable to the Hon. Treasurer, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin. 
Members receive the Journal free, Fellows receive in addition Special 
Volumes on publication. Single copies of the Journal may be purchased 
from the Society, from Hodges Figgis and Co., Dublin, or any bookseller. 
Books for review, papers, notes, and all matter relating to the Journal 
should be submitted to the Hon. Editor, 63 Merrion Square. All MSS. 
for publication should be typed. 


By Veronica m Chinneide 

In the text and in the appended Tables, a particular Number of the 
Melodies and the position of a song within that Number are denoted by 
a roman numeral followed by an arabic numeral. Thus, VIII, 5 means 
the fifth song in the Eighth Number. 

npHOMAS MOORE (1779 — 1852), Irish poet and musician, stands in 
no need of introduction. His Irish Melodies in particular left to his 
fellow-countrymen an inheritance of untold wonder and delight and 
brought to Irish music an international recognition and regard which it 
had hardly enjoyed before his time. His fame, which was already great 
in his own day, both in Ireland and in the English-speaking world 
generally, has become even more widespread with time. To-day, against 
a background of new appreciation and a more real knowledge of Irish 
traditional music, his achievement has perhaps an even greater significance 
than heretofore. However, an appraisement of Moore’s stature in the 
history of our music lies beyond the scope of this paper. 

In his interesting study of Moore, Mr. H. M. Jones states that ‘there 
is a vast literature on the relation of the Irish Melodies to their originals’. 1 
This, however, is hardly the case. In 1895, Stanford published his Irish 
Melodies of Thomas Moore, with the sub-title The Original Airs Restored. 
This book unfortunately fell short of its avowed purpose. No comprehen- 
sive list of the originals was given. The sources are mentioned in compara- 
tively few cases and these are sometimes wrong — as when Stanford gives 
Bunting as the source for the tune of ‘Let Erin Remember’ (II, 8) which 
appeared in 1807, whereas Bunting’s version was not published till 1840. 
Moffat and Kidson in their invaluable footnotes to Moffat’s Minstrelsy 
of Ireland (1897) have corrected many of Stanford’s mistakes. They have 
also given, so far as possible, the sources of those Moore tunes which 
appear in that book. Finally Dr. Donal O’Sullivan, in editing from the 
original MSS. the tunes published in Bunting’s 1796 and 1809 volumes of 
Irish music, mentioned in all the appropriate cases Moore’s use of those 
tunes. 2 This represents the sum of what has been done so far. In this 
connection I wish to thank Dr. O’Sullivan for suggesting to me the present 
comprehensive piece of research and for his kindness in answering my 
queries throughout the progress of the investigation. 

Moore’s ‘Irish Melodies’ were published in ten successive Numbers 
followed by a Supplement. The First Number was issued in 1807 and the 

^Howard M. Jones: The Harp That Once (Yale, 1937), p. 338. 

2 The Bunting Collection of Irish Folk Music and Songs, Parts I — VI (1927 — 
1939) and see Part VI, p. 135, Index VI. 

Plate VIII] 

[To face page 1)9 


iber of the Melodies (1821). 


By Veronica nf Chinneide 

In the text and. in the appended Tables, a particular Number of the 
Melodies and the position of a song within that Number are denoted by 
a roman numeral followed by an arable numeral. Thus, VIII, 5 means 
the fifth song in the Eighth Number. 

'T’HOMAS MOORE (1779 — 1852), Irish poet and musician, stands in 
-®- no need of introduction. His Irish Melodies in particular left to his 
fellow-countrymen an inheritance of untold wonder and delight and 
brought to Irish music an international recognition and regard which it 
had hardly enjoyed before his time. His fame, which was already great 
in his own day, both in Ireland and in the English-speaking world 
generally, has become even more widespread with time. To-day, against 
a background of new appreciation and a more real knowledge of Irish 
traditional music, his achievement has perhaps an even greater significance 
than heretofore. However, an appraisement of Moore’s stature in the 
history of our music lies beyond the scope of this paper. 

In his interesting study of Moore, Mr. H. M. Jones states that ‘there 
is a vast literature on the relation of the Irish Melodies to their originals’. 1 
This, however, is hardly the case. In 1895, Stanford published his Irish 
Melodies of Thomas Moore, with the sub-title The Original Airs Restored. 
This book unfortunately fell short of its avowed purpose. No comprehen- 
sive list of the originals was given. The sources are mentioned in compara- 
tively few cases and these are sometimes wrong — as when Stanford gives 
Bunting as the source for the tune of ‘Let Erin Remember’ (II, 8) which 
appeared in 1807, whereas Bunting’s version was not published till 1840. 
Moffat and Kidson in their invaluable footnotes to Moffat’s Minstrelsy 
of Ireland (1897) have corrected many of Stanford’s mistakes. They have 
also given, so far as possible, the sources of those Moore tunes which 
appear in that book. Finally Dr. Donal O’Sullivan, in editing from the 
original MSS. the tunes published in Bunting’s 1796 and 1809 volumes of 
Irish music, mentioned in all the appropriate cases Moore’s use of those 
tunes. 2 This represents the sum of what has been done so far. In this 
connection I wish to thank Dr. O’Sullivan for suggesting to me the present 
comprehensive piece of research and for his kindness in answering my 
queries throughout the progress of the investigation. 

Moore’s ‘Irish Melodies’ were published in ten successive Numbers 
followed by a Supplement. The First Number was issued in 1807 and the 

1 Howard M. Jones: The Harp That Once (Yale, 1937), p. 338. 

2 The Bunting Collection of Irish Folk Music and Songs, Parts I — VI (1927 — 
1939) and see Part VI, p. 135, Index VI. 



Tenth with a Supplement in 1834, the other Numbers appearing at vary- 
ing intervals over the intervening years. 3 With regard to the initiation of 
the project, Croker states that the copyright of the First Number of the 
Melodies was purchased from the author by James Power the publisher 
for fifty pounds. He adds: ‘So successful did the speculation prove to be 
that Mr. Power and his brother soon afterwards entered into an agreement 
to pay Mr. Moore £500 per annum, for seven years, to produce in each 
year another Number of the Irish Melodies, with a few single songs in 
addition’. 4 In fact the contemplated seven years became extended from 
various causes by twenty years since, as we have seen, the concluding 
Number did not appear until 1834. The brothers Power were both 
publishers, James in London at no. 34, Strand, and William in Dublin at 
no. 4, Westmoreland Street. Further references to ‘Power’ in this paper are 
to James, unless William is specifically mentioned. 

Each Number contains twelve 'melodies’, i.e. songs with airs. In the 
Third Number one song, ‘111 Omens’, is set successively to two different 
airs. In the Sixth Number, two airs are combined for the song ‘Oh! 
where’s the slave?’, and the Supplement contains four. The total number 
of tunes is therefore 126. In each case Moore gives the title of the 
original air or calls it ‘Unknown’; 120 have titles and six are marked 
‘Unknown’. Where titles are given they prove to have been copied fairly 
faithfully, including those which, being written in a rough phonetic script 
intended to represent the original Irish, may have presented some 
difficulty, e.g., ‘Thamama hulla’ or ‘Cummilum’. 

My task has been to attempt to trace to its source every air used by 
Moore. In some cases I have not succeeded; in a few others the best that 
can be done is to suggest two or three alternatives. 

The sources are both printed and manuscript. In the Advertisement 
to the first three Numbers of the Melodies, Power appealed to the public 
for airs. His request met with such response that in the Dedication pre- 
fixed to the Tenth Number (1834) Moore was writing of ‘the immense 
mass of Irish music which has been for years past accumulating in my 
hands.’ None of this however is in Moore’s library which was presented 
to the Royal Irish Academy by his widow; and, though this library con- 
sists of upwards of eight hundred volumes, only three contain Irish airs 
and only one of these. Walker’s Irish Bards, is among our source-books. 

The origin of some of the manuscript sources is known. Petrie states 5 
that he himself, through a friend Richard Wrightson, sent three separate 
batches of tunes to the poet as early as 1807 or 1808 and that some of 
these appeared for the first time in the Irish Melodies. He adds that he 

3 The dates have been taken from Andrew Gibson’s Thomas Moore and his 
First Editions (1904). 

i Notes from the Letters of Thomas Moore to his Music Publisher, James Power 
. . . with an Introductory Letter from Thomas Crofton Croker, Esq. ( c . 1856). (Here- 
after cited as Letters to Power.) 

5 George Petrie: Ancient Music of Ireland (1855), Introduction, p. viii. 



gave a much larger number to Francis Holden, whose father Smollet 
Holden published them in his collection, 6 whence they were taken by 
Moore. Among these Petrie names ‘Lough Sheelin’, ‘Arrah, my dear 
Eveleen’ and ‘Luggela’ (VI, 8, II, 9 and VI, 3) (‘Luggela’, however, does 
not appear in Holden’s book). Lastly, Petrie mentions that he sent Moore 
several other airs through William Power, the tune for ‘You remember 
Ellen’ (V, 11) being one of these. 

Moore also received airs from a certain Dr. Kelly, who has not been 
identified.*^ The airs were probably contained in a manuscript book sent 
by him to James Power. There is evidence that at least two airs from this 
book were used by Moore. One of them is ‘Sly Patrick’, made famous 
by Moore’s beautiful lyric ‘Has sorrow thy young days shaded’ (VI, 2). 
Moore states in a footnote to that song: ‘To the gentleman who favoured 
me with this air I am indebted for many other old and beautiful melodies 
from which, if ever we resume this work, I shall be able to make a very 
interesting selection.’ Early in 1815 Moore writes to Power asking him to 
‘procure the name of “Has sorrow thy young days”, as 1 have just hunted 
through all my music for Kelly’s book and cannot find it.’ 7 It is a reason- 
able inference that Dr. Kelly is the source of this tune. 

The second tune is ‘Cushla ma chree’, to which the poet wrote his 
hardly less celebrated ‘Come o’er the sea’ (VI, 1). Here the evidence is 
supplied by a combination of three extracts from the Letters to Power. 
Writing in July, 1814, Moore refers to ‘Kelly’s book’, which ‘contains no 
less than four or five very pretty airs for our purpose, and on Friday I 
expect to send you one of them with words’. A few days afterwards he 
writes, ‘I have done “Cuislah ma chree” after many trials’. Later (January, 
1815), the poet asks Power for ‘the correct spelling of “Cuishlah ma 
chree” according to Dr. Kelly’. 8 Here again one may conclude that Kelly 
is the source; and it is significant that the two airs are found side by 
side, being the first two Melodies in the Sixth Number. 

In this same Sixth Number Moore has a tune, ‘O Patrick, fly from 
me’, which he used for his song ‘When first I met thee’ (VI, 4). He has 
the following footnote: ‘This very beautiful Irish air was sent to me by 
a gentleman of Oxford. There is much pathos in the original words, and 
both words and music have all the features of authenticity.’ In all likeli- 
hood the gentleman referred to is one Mr. Malchair, 9 mentioned in 

6 S. Holden: Collection of Old-Established Irish Slow and Quick Tunes, Books 
I and II (1806). 

6a He may perhaps be the Dr. Kelly to whom five airs are acknowledged in the 
Petrie MSS. The fact that all five are from Mayo suggests a connection with that 

7 Letters to Power, p. 48. 

s Op. cit., pp. 36, 37, 48. 

9 Probably a misprint for ‘Malclair’ (Norman-French Malclerc). Woulfe 
(Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall) states that persons of that name have been settled in 
County Tipperary since the XIV century. 

i 2 



Crotch’s Specimens. 10 Among the ‘Specimens’ in this important work is a 
batch of no less than sixty-one ‘Irish Airs’, two of which are acknowledged 
to Malchair by Crotch, who refers to him (p. 3 of Preface) as ‘Mr. 
Malchair of Oxford who has made National Music his study’. Moore and 
Crotch were contemporaries and references to his ‘Specimens’ occur in the 
poet’s correspondence. 11 It seems therefore not unlikely that Malchair is 
Moore’s ‘Oxford gentleman’. 

The references in Russell would seem to indicate that though Moore 
toyed with the idea of using some of the ‘Irish Airs’ in Crotch for the 
Melodies, he did not in fact do so. At all events I have examined them 
with due care but with negative results. 

Another contributor may have been William Power, through whom, 
it will be recalled, Petrie gave airs to Moore. About 1813, Moore refers 
to William Power’s ‘boasted Connemara stock of airs’, 12 and in the follow- 
ing year he mentions in a letter to James that he had written to his 
brother ‘thanking him for the Irish airs’. 13 In the absence of more specific 
data none of the untraced airs can be ascribed to this source. 

Last and perhaps most important of the contributors is the celebrated 
Cork antiquary Thomas Crofton Croker (1798 — 1854). Writing to Power 
in May, 1818 at the time he was preparing the Seventh Number, Moore 
states: ‘I have got a most valuable correspondent and contributor for our 
future Melodies — a Mr. Croker, near Cork, who has just sent me thirty- 
four Airs, and a very pretty drawing of a celebrated spot in his neighbour- 
hood!’ 14 The gift is alluded to in a footnote to the Advertisement to the 
Seventh Number but, apparently by inadvertence, Moore omits Croker’s 
name. Later in the same year (2nd November) Croker visited the poet at 
his Wiltshire home and Moore tells Power that he gave him ‘some 
national airs copied out by himself in the most beautiful manner.’ 15 
These must have been additional to the thirty-four already mentioned. 

In a further letter to Power in April, 1819 Moore says, ‘I send you 
the song from Croker’s book’, 16 meaning a song which he had written to 
one of the airs mentioned above. The only untraced air in the Eighth 
Number (the one published next after this) is ‘My husband’s a journey to 
Portugal gone’, and it may therefore be from Croker’s collection. In this 
connection it may be noted that among Croker’s published works are 
three which contain traditional Irish melodies, viz., Researches in the 
South of Ireland (1824), Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of 
Ireland (1825-8) and Legends of the Lakes (1829). These have respectively 

10 WiIliam Crotch : Specimens of Various Styles of Music referred to in a 
Course of Lectures read at Oxford and London ( c . 1804), Preface, p. 3. 

ll The Memoirs, Journal and Correspondence of Thomas Moore, edited by Lord 
John Russell (1853-56), vol. I, pp. 324 and 339; vol. II, p. 9. 

12 Russell, vol. I. p. 339. 

13 Op. cit., vol. II, p. 11. 

14 Letters to Power, p. 65. 

15 Russell, vol. II. pp. 208-9. 

lfi Letters to Power, p. 74. 



five tunes, one tune and six tunes. None of them, however, was used by 

In view of all these possible contributors, it is not surprising that a 
number of the airs named by Moore remain unidentified. The great 
majority of them, however, prove to have -been taken not from manu- 
scripts but from printed books. Only a few of these are indicated by 
Moore himself in the Prefaces and footnotes of his work. In a footnote 
to ‘Tho’ the last glimpse of Erin’ (I, 9) Moore quotes a passage from 
Walker’s Irish Bards about the Coolin, thus directing us to the air of 
that name and to the version given by Walker which he used. In the 
case of ‘Oh! where’s the slave?’ (VI, 7) the poet states, also in a foot- 
note, that he combined two tunes, the second of which he took from the 
Hibernian Muse. And in the case of ‘Sing, sweet harp’ (X, 2) it is 
similarly stated that the air has been already printed in Smith’s Select 

The only other mention of specific published collections is found in a 
footnote to the Advertisement to the First and Second Numbers. It is 
there acknowledged by Moore (or possibly by Power) ‘that the public 
are indebted to Mr. Bunting for a very valuable collection of Irish Music, 
and that the patriotic genius of Miss Owenson has been employed upon 
some of our finest airs.’ The reference to Miss Owenson led me to her 
Twelve Hibernian Melodies, where I found the source of ‘The mountain 
sprite’ (IX, 6). As -for Edward Bunting, though he is by a long way the 
collector laid most -heavily under contribution by Moore, his reward so 
far as Moore was concerned was the single and wholly inadequate mention 
of his name just quoted. 

The poet’s treatment of his next most important contributor is 
equally difficult to justify. This was Smollet Holden, an eminent Dublin 
band-master and, like Bunting, a contemporary of Moore. Holden 
published in two volumes in 1806 his Collection of Irish Slow and Quick 
Tunes. Petrie tells us ‘it was from this collection . . . that Moore derived 
many of those airs which his poetry has consecrated and made familiar to 
the world.’ In fact no less than twenty-nine of Moore’s melodies are 
traceable to this work. But Moore himself nowhere mentions Holden, 
though in at least two cases one would have expected him to do so. At 
the end of the Third and Fourth Numbers he prints notatim from Holden 
‘Thamama hulla’ and ‘Cean dubh delish’ respectively, having used them 
in a modified form for two of his songs (III, 1 and IV, 11). Since he had 
gone thus far, the omission of all mention of Holden’s Collection is 
indeed hard to understand. He acted similarly in the case of one of 
Bunting’s tunes, which he used for a song in the Third Number and then 
printed at the end without mention of source (III, 6). 

In the Advertisement to the First Number of the Melodies, Power 
quotes extensively from a letter written by Moore explaining the spirit 
in which he approached his great undertaking. In this letter the poet 



expresses his admiration for the melodies of Ireland and adds : ‘If Burns 
had been an Irishman ... his heart would have been proud of such 
music, and his genius would have made it immortal.’ The format and 
general style of the Melodies is a close imitation of Thomson’s Scottish 
Airs, issued serially in Edinburgh with Burns as the principal contributor 
of the words. It would thus seem that Moore was fired with an ambition 
to do for Ireland what Burns had done for Scotland. A consideration of 
these facts prompted me to examine Thomson’s collections with some 
care — a care which proved justified by the result. 

The last of the printed sources to which we know from Moore’s own 
writings that the poet had access is the late eighteenth century ballad 
opera The Poor Soldier, by William Shield. Moore tells us in his diary 
that about 1790 he and a number of other young people ‘got up theatricals 
and on one occasion performed O’Keefe’s farce of The Poor Soldier’. 17 
John O’Keefe was Shield’s librettist and most of the tunes in The Poor 
Soldier are Irish. The airs from an opera in which he had taken part 
would naturally occur to Moore’s mind, and in fact three airs used in the 
Melodies originated in The Poor Soldier. There is also an air from Shield’s 
Rosina and another from his Robin Hood. 

Moore’s remaining printed sources need not be mentioned here. They 
are included in the complete list printed below (Table I). 

Any detailed comment on the much debated question of Moore’s 
treatment of the traditional tunes used by him would be outside the scope 
of this paper. Two points however may be briefly alluded to. The first 
is the scrupulous regard shown by Moore in making his selection that 
the tunes he chose should be Irish. The tune of ‘Eveleen’s Bower’ might 
be disputed but, says Moore, ‘they who are best acquainted with national 
melodies pronounce it to be Irish’ (II, 7). He suspects that ‘Kitty of 
Coleraine’ is ‘a modern English imitation’ and so he ‘thought it right to 
give an authentic Irish air to the same words’ (III, 5). Of the airs chosen 
from Scottish books, Moore was careful to select only those marked 
‘Irish’. The second point is Moore’s candour with his readers in indicating 
by means of occasional footnotes (however inadequately) his method of 
treating his originals and in three cases reproducing those originals as an 
Appendix to the relevant Number. 

Another matter of interest is the manner in which, when writing his 
lyrics, the poet was influenced by the title of a particular source-tune or 
by the first line of a pre-existing poem written to that tune. For example 
‘The Song of Sorrow’ inspired him to write his ‘Weep on, weep on, your 
hour is past’ (IV, 3) and ‘The Lamentation of Aughrim’ gave rise to 
‘Forget not the field where they perished’ (VII, 10). As regards first lines, 
‘By this fountain’s flow’ry side’ doubtless suggested ‘By that lake whose 
gloomy shore’ (IV, 6) and the well-known ‘I wish I was on yonder hill’ 
gave rise to ‘I wish I was by that dim lake’ (IX, 10). The reader will 

17 Russell, vol. I, p. 13. 



doubtless notice other instances in Table II; but more interesting than 
any of these is Moore’s treatment of the tune to which he wrote ‘Sing, 
sweet harp’ (X, 2). At the source the tune is set to verses stated to be by 
one William Motherwell and Moore, giving the source, speaks of them 
as ‘not unworthy of its beauty’. The close resemblance between Moore’s 
song and that of Motherwell betrays Moore’s indebtedness to the latter. 
A quotation will make this clear. The following quatrain by Motherwell— 

Mournfully! Oh, mournfully 

This midnight wind doth sigh. 

Like some sweet plaintive melody 
Of ages long gone by! 

becomes in Moore — 

How mournfully the midnight air 
Among thy chords doth sigh. 

As if it sought some echo there 
Of voices long gone by. 

Before giving the tabulated results, it remains to indicate the manner 
in which the investigation has been conducted. Briefly, the task consisted 
of an examination of the published collections of Irish music which 
Moore was either known to have used or else could have used having 
regard to the chronology. 

Throughout the examination the criteria have been two in number: 

(1) is the tune in Moore identical with or reasonably close to the tune 
thought to be the source? 

(2) are the title and the spelling of the title given by Moore the same 
as in the source? 

If the answer in both cases is ‘yes’, one may reasonably say that that 
is where Moore got his tune. Unfortunately the matter was not so simple. 
In numerous instances there have been cases of two, three or more 
versions of the tune, none of them identical with Moore’s version, with 
titles showing differences of spelling from that used by Moore and from 
each other. In these instances I have had to decide according to the 
probabilities. The exact spelling of the titles thus played a key part in 
the investigation. For this reason I have retained Moore’s precise title and 
spelling in every case, and where the titles are in roughly phonetic Irish 
I have not attempted to correct them. 

It must be mentioned that six airs gave no help at all as regards 
title, being marked ‘Unknown’, but all were eventually traced. They 
appear under various titles in books known to have been used by Moore 
and were duly recognized. To give a few examples : the tune used for 
‘The legacy’ (II, 4), although called ‘Unknown’, is ‘The bard’s legacy’ 
in Holden’s Collection — a title which (as in the cases already mentioned) 
doubtless suggested both the name and the theme of Moore’s poem. ‘Oh 
for the swords of former time!’ (VII, 12) is also marked ‘Unknown’, but 



the tune was found in Shield’s Poor Soldier, where it bears the title, 
‘Dermot’s welcome as the may’. The air of ‘And doth not a meeting like 
this make amends’ (IX, 5), although not found identically in the various 
collections, appears in very close variants named ‘Round the world for 
sport’ in two likely sources. It has also happened in one instance that an 
air (IV, 12) published by Moore under a certain title (‘The bunch of 
green rushes that grew at the brim’) was not found under that title but 
appears in a slightly varied form under a different one (‘Johny Macgill’) 
in one of the Scottish books that the poet almost certainly used. 

There follow four Tables. 

TABLE I is a list of Moore’s printed sources as ascertained. Each 
entry is followed in square brackets by the form of citation used in Table 
II, and by a figure indicating the number of tunes actually or possibly 
derived from that particular source. All the works except Brysson and 
Smith are in the National Library of Ireland. I am indebted to Dr. 
William Montgomerie for a transcript of one tune from each of these, 
made from the Wighton Collection in Dundee Public Library. 

TABLE II is an annotated list in chronological order of the whole 
of Moore’s Melodies and represents the results of the investigation. 

TABLE III is an index of first lines provided for facility of reference. 
Titles are printed in capitals and are included only when they differ from 
the first lines. 

TABLE IV gives the source-tunes in alphabetical order, those not 
found being indicated by an asterisk. Names of tunes not given by Moore 
but appearing in the annotations in Table II are placed in square brackets. 


FOREIGN AIRS. Glasgow, 1782. [Aird.] 1 air. 

FAVOURITE IRISH AIRS. Edinburgh, c. 1790. [Brysson.] 1 air. 

[ Bunting , 1796.] 21 airs. 

1809. [ Bunting , 1809.] 17 airs. 

Dublin, 1814. [Fitzsimons and Smith.] 1 air. 



Dublin, c. 1810. [Hime’s Pocket Book.] 2 airs. 

AND QUICK TUNES. Books I & II. Dublin, [1806], [Holden.] 29 

JACKSON’S CELEBRATED IRISH TUNES. Dublin, 1774. [Jackson.] 2 

vol. V, 1796. [Johnson.] 1 air. 

THE UNION PIPES. London, c. 1797-1800. [O' Farrell’s Collection.] 
2 airs. 

PIPES. 4 vols. London, c. 1801-10. [O’ Farrell’s Pocket Companion.] 
9 airs. 

MELODIES. London, 1805. [Owenson.] 1 air. 

ROBIN HOOD, 1784. London. [Cited as Shield, followed by the 
name of the opera.] 5 airs. 

R. A. SMITH. SELECT MELODIES. Edinburgh, 1827. [Smith.] 1 air. 

c. 1786. [Hibernian Muse.] 6 airs. 

IRISH AIRS. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1814 & 1816. [Thomson’s Irish 
Airs.] 1 air. 

SCOTISH AIRS. 4 sets. Edinburgh, 1793-7 [Thomson’s Scotish 
Airs.] 8 airs. 

SCOTTISH AIRS. 4 vols. Edinburgh, 1803-5. (A re-issue of the fore- 
going, with omissions and additions.) [Thomson’s Scottish ^zYs.] 3 

IRISH BARDS. 1st edition. Dublin, 1786. [Walker.] 2 airs. 

DANIEL WRIGHT. ARIA DI CAMERA. London, c. 1730. [Wright.] 
1 air. 






1. Title: Go where glory waits thee. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The maid of the valley. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 26: The maid of the valley. 

2. Title: War Song. 

First line: Remember the glories of Brien the brave. 

Tune: Molly Macalpin. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 24: Molly Macalpin. 

3. Title: Erin! the tear and the smile in thine eyes. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Aileen Aroon. 

Source: the versions of this world-famous air are numerous, but there seems 
little doubt that Moore’s version, less ornamented than most others, was 
taken by him from Thomson’s Scotish Airs, set IV (1797), p. 92. It is there 
set to Burns’s song, ‘Had I a cave on some wild distant shore’, the name of 
the air being given as ‘Robin Adair’. 

4. Title: Oh\ breathe not his name. 

First line: Oh ! breathe not his name — let it sleep in the shade. 

Tune: The brown maid. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 18: The brown maid. 

5. Title: When he who adores thee. 

First line: When he who adores thee has left but the name. 

Tune: The fox’s sleep. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 1 : The foxes sleep. 

6. Title: The harp that once thro’ Tara’s halls. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Gramachree. 

Source: Thomson’s Scotish Airs, set I (1793), p. 18; or, less probably, 
O’ Farrell's Collection (c. 1797-1800), p. 46. The title in both cases is 

7. Title: Fly not yet. 

First line: Fly not yet, ’tis just the hour. 

Tune: Planxty Kelly. 

Source: Bunting (1796). p. 1 1 : Planxty Kelly — Carolan. 

8. Title: Oh! think not my spirits are always as light. 

First line: same. 

Tune: lohn O’Reilly the active. 

Source: Bunting (1796). p. 27: lohn O’Reilly the active. 

9. Title: Tho’ the last glimpse of Erin with sorrow I see. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Coulin. 

Source: Probably Walker (1786), Appendix IX. no. X: Coulin, Walker’s note on 
the air being actually quoted by Moore. But it is possible that Moore was 
also influenced by the closely related versions in Thomson’s Scotish Airs, 
set IV (1797), p. 99: Coolun, and Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 28: Coolun 
with variations. 

10. Title: Rich and rare were the gems she wore. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The summer is coming. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 4: The summer is coming. 

11. Title: As a beam o’er the face of the waters may glow. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The young man’s dream. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 10: The young man’s dream. 



12. Title: The meeting of the waters. 

First line: There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet. 
Tune: The old head of Denis. 

Source: not found. 


1. Title: St. Senanus and the lady. 

First line: Oh ! haste, and leave this sacred isle. 

Tune: The brown thorn. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 2: The brown thorn. 

2. Title: How dear to me the hour. 

First line: How dear to me the hour when day-light dies. 

Tune: The twisting of the rope. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 10 : The twisting of the rope. 

3. Title: Take back the virgin page. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Dermott. 

Source: Hibernian Muse (c. 1786), p. 19: Dermot. 

4. Title: The legacy. 

First line: When in death I shall calm recline. 

Tune: Unknown. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 39: The bard’s legacy. 

5. Title: The dirge. 

First line: How oft has the benshee cried! 

T une: The dear black maid. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 22: The dear black maid. 

6. Title: We may roam thro’ this world. 

First line: We may roam thro’ this world like a child at a feast. 

Tune: Garyone. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 34: Garrione. 

7. Title: Eveleen’s bower. 

First line: Oh ! weep for the hour. 

Tune: ‘Unknown’, but Moore adds the following as a footnote: ‘Our claim to 
this air has been disputed; but they, who are best acquainted with national 
melodies, pronounce it to be Irish. It is generally known by the name of 
“The pretty girl of Derby, O ! ” ’ 

Source: either Brysson ( c . 1790), p. 22: Peggy Derby or Dandy O, or O’FarreU’s 
Pocket Companion (c. 1801-10), IV, p. 105: The Dandy O. 

8. Title: Let Erin remember the days of old. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The red fox. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 18: The red dog or fox. 

9. Title: The song of Fionnuala. 

First line: Silent, oh Moyle! be the roar of thy water. 

Tune: Arrah, my dear Eveleen. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 21: Arrah my dear Eveleen. 

(Given to Holden by Petrie — see p. Ill supra.) 

10. Title: Come, send round the wine. 

First line: Come, send round the wine, and leave points of belief. 

T une.' We brought the summer with us. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 33 : We brought the summer with us. 

11. Title: Sublime was the warning. 

First line: Sublime was the warning which liberty spoke. 

Tune: The black joke. 

Source: O’Farrell’s Pocket Companion (c. 1801-10), II, p. 92: The black joke, 
with variations. Irish; or, less probably, Hibernian Muse ( c . 1786), p. 65: 
The black joke. 



12. Title: Believe me, if all those endearing young charms. 

First line: same. 

Tune: My lodging is on the cold ground. 

Source: Thomson’s Scotish Airs, set IV (1797), p. 76: My lodging is on the cold 
ground; or, less probably. O’ Farrell’s Pocket Companion (c. 1801-10), I, 
p. 74: My lodging in on the cold ground. 

In an exhaustive note on the tune, Chappell gives reasons for his opinion 
that it is English, not Irish ( Popular Music of the Olden Time, II, p. 525 
et seq.). 


1. Title: Erin! oh Erin! 

First line: Like the bright lamp that lay in Kildare’s holy shrine (‘shrine’ altered 
in subsequent editions to ‘fane’, which is required by the rhyme). 

Tune: Thamama hulla. Moore adds the following as a footnote: ‘There are 
various settings of this air; that which differs most [? recte least] from the 
set we have adopted will be found at the end of this number.’ 

Source: the setting at the end of the Number is taken notatim from Holden 
(1806), vol. II, p. 35: Thamama hulla. It is closer to the one used by Moore 
than any other that has been found, under whatever title; hence the tenta- 
tive correction made in Moore’s statement quoted above. 

2. Title: Drink to her. 

First line: Drink to her, who long. 

Tune : Heigh ho! my Jacky. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 27 : Heigho my Jockey. 

3. Title: Oh! blame not the bard. 

First line: Oh! blame not the bard, if he fly to the bowers. 

Tune: Kitty Tyrrel. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 5 : Kitty Tyrrel. 

Title: While gazing on the moon’s light. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Oonagh. 

Source: either Johnson, vol. V (1796), no. 447, to a song ‘written for this work 
by Robert Burns. — An Irish air.’, or Thomson’s Scottish Airs, vol. IV (1805), 
p. 190, to the same song by Burns. ‘Irish air — Oonagh’. Moore’s version is 
closer to Johnson; on the other hand the title is in Thomson but not in the 

5. Title: 111 omens. 

First line: When daylight was yet sleeping under the billow. 

Tunes: (a) Kitty of Coleraine; 

(b) Paddy’s Resource. 

Moore adds the following as a footnote: ‘Having some reason to suspect 
that “Kitty of Coleraine” is but a modern English imitation of our style, I 
have thought it right to give an authentic Irish air to the same words, with- 
out, however, omitting the former melody, for which the words were 
originally written, and to which, I believe, they are best adapted.’ 

Source: (a) O’Farrell’ s Pocket Companion ( c . 1801-10), IV, p. 117: Kitty of 

(b) not found. 

6. Title: Before the battle. 

First line: By the hope within us springing. 

Tune: ‘The fairy-queen’. In a footnote Moore broadly indicates the differences 
between the air as used by him and its original, adding that the melody ‘in 
its original form’ is printed at the end of the Number. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 3: The fairy queen — by Carolan : also printed almost 
notatim at the end of the Number, though not strictly ‘in its original form’ 
as stated by Moore. 



7. Title: After the battle. 

First line: Night clos’d around the conqueror’s way. 

Tune: Thy fair bosom. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 11 : Thy fair bosom. 

8. Title: Oh! ’tis sweet to think. 

First line: Oh ! ’tis sweet to think that where’er we rove. 

Tune: Thady, you gander. 

Source: not found. 

9. Title: The Irish peasant to his mistress. 

First line: Thro’ grief and thro’ danger thy smile hath cheer’d my way ! 

Tune: I once had a true-love. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 10: I once had a true love. 

‘A tune of the glen of Ishmail [Imaal] County Wicklow.’ 

10. Title: On music. 

First line: When through life unblest we rove. 

Tune: Banks of Banna. 

Source: Thomson’s Scotish Airs, set I (1793), p. 25: The banks of Banna. 

11. Title: It is not the tear at this moment shed. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The sixpence. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 7 : The sixpence. 

12. Title: The origin of the harp. 

First line: ’Tis believ’d that this harp, which I wake now for thee. 

Tune: Gage fane. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 26: Gage fane. 


1. Title: Love’s young dream. 

First line: Oh ! the days are gone, when beauty bright. 

Tune: The old woman. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 31 : The old woman. 

2. Title: The Prince’s Day. 

First line: Tho’ dark are our sorrows, to-day we’ll forget them. 

Tune: St. Patrick’s Day. 

Source: Hime’s Pocket Book (c. 1810), p. 26: St. Patrick’s Day with variations. 

3. Title: Weep on, weep on. 

First line: Weep on, weep on, your hour is past. 

Tune: The song of sorrow. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 5: The song of sorrow. 

4. Title: Lesbia has a beaming eye. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Nora crema. 

Source: O’Farrell’s Pocket Companion ( c . 1801-10), I, p. 60: Nora Creena. 

5. Title: I saw thy form in youthful prime. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Domhnall. 

Source: Thomson’s Scotish Airs, set I (1793), p. 15: From thee Eliza, I must 
go. By Robert Burns. Air — Donald. (Marked ‘Irish’ in Contents.) 

6. Title: By that lake, whose gloomy shore. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The brown Irish girl. 

Source: Hibernian Muse (c. 1786), p. 10: The Irish girl in Rosina. (The reference 
is to Shield’s opera of that name (1783), p. 20, where the old name of the 
air is not given and the song begins 'By this Fountain's flow’ry side.’) In spite 
of Moore’s title for the tune he may have taken it direct from the opera, 
since it looks as if the opening line of his song was suggested by the open- 
ing line of the song in Rosina. 



7. Title: She is far from the land. 

First line: She is far from the land, where her young hero sleeps. 

Tune: Open the door. 

Source: Thomson’s Scotish Airs, set I (1793), p. 21 : Oh, open the door. (Marked 
‘Irish’ in Contents.) 

8. Title: Nay, tell me not. 

First line: Nay, tell me not, dear! that the goblet drowns. 

Tune: Dennis, don’t be threatening. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 11: Dennis don’t be threat’ning. 

9. Title: Avenging and bright. 

First line: Avenging and bright fall the swift sword of Erin. 

Tune: Crooghan a venee, given by Moore in a footnote as ‘Cruachan na 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 1 : Crookaun a venee. 

10. Title: What the bee is to the flowret. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The yellow horse. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 12: Yellow horse. 

11. Title: Love and the novice. 

First line: Here we dwell, in holiest bowers. 

Tune: Cean dubh delish. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 13 : Cean dubh deelish. 

Moore adds the following footnote to his song: ‘We have taken the liberty 
of omitting a part of this air, which appeared to us to wander rather un- 
manageably out of the compass of the voice. It has been given, however, in 
its perfect form, at the beginning of the Third Number.’ There is some 
confusion here. The facts are : (a) the air had been used in a piano arrange- 
ment as part of the ‘Introductory Piece’ to the Third Number and (b) it 
is printed notatim from Holden on a separate sheet at the end of the Fourth 
Number, with Holden’s title but no indication of source. 

12. Title: This life is all chequer’d with pleasures and woes. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The bunch of green rushes that grew at the brim. 

Source: not found under that title but a version of the air is printed in Thomson’s 
Scottish Airs, vol. IV (1805), p. 171 : Johny Macgill. 


1. Title: The shamrock. 

First line: Through Erin’s isle. 

Tune: Alley Croker. 

Source: Hibernian Muse ( c . 1786), p. 67: Ally Croker, or, less probably, 
Thomson’s Scotish Airs, set IV (1797), p. 93: Alley Croker. (Air marked 
‘Irish’ in Contents.) 

2. Title: At the mid hour of night. 

First line: At the mid hour of night, when stars are weeping I fly. 

Tune: Molly, my dear. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 29: Molly my dear. 

3. Title: One bumper at parting! 

First line: One bumper at parting! — tho’ many. 

Tune: Moll roe in the morning. 

Source: not found. 

4. Title : ’Tis the last rose of summer. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Groves of Blarney. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 18: The groves of Blarney. 

In a letter to his publisher written in January, 1831 Moore says, ‘ “The 
Canadian Boat Song” I certainly altered, and so I did “The last rose of 
summer” ’ ( Letters to Power, p. 160). 



5. Title: The young May moon. 

First line: The young May moon is beaming, love. 

Tune: The Dandy O ! [Moore's title, but see below.] 

Source: Shield’s Robin Hood (1784): Irish tune. Moffat states (p. 254): ‘The 
name, “The Dandy O” is a misnomer, and was evidently taken from the 
second verse of the song in “Robin Hood”, one of the lines of which is 
“And I’m her a-dandy O.” ’ The tune properly known as ‘The Dandy O’ 
was used by Moore for his song ‘Eveleen’s Bower’ (II, 7). 

6. Title: The minstrel-boy. 

First line: The minstrel-boy to the war is gone. 

Tune: ‘The moreen’ in index and ‘The mereen’ at tune. 

Source: not found. 

7. Title: The song of O’Ruark, Prince of Breffni. 

First line: The valley lay smiling before me. 

Tune: The pretty girl milking her cow. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 29: The pretty girl milking the cows. 

8. Title: Oh! had we some bright little isle of our own! 

First line: same. 

Tune: Sheela na Guira. 

Source: much the closest version of this celebrated air is that in the second 
edition of Walker’s Irish Bards (1818), no. XXIX: Sheela na Guira. This 
also has the advantage of being identical in title with Moore. The tune is 
not given in the first edition (1786), and a consideration of dates shows 
that the second edition cannot have been used by Moore for a tune in the 
Fifth Number of the melodies. 

The sources of the additional tunes in the second edition (Appendix, nos. 
XVI — XL1II) are not given, but most if not all of them are taken from 
printed books. It seems likely, therefore, that a printed source prior to 
Walker exists and was used by Moore for this air. But it has not been 

9. Title: Farewell! — but, whenever you welcome the hour. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Moll Roone. 

Source: not found. 

10. Title: Oh! doubt me not. 

First line: Oh ! doubt me not — the season. 

Tune: Yellow Wat and the fox. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 19: Yellow Wat and the fox. 

11. Title: You remember Ellen. 

First line: You remember Ellen, our hamlet’s pride. 

Tune: Were I a clerk. 

Source: Given by Petrie to Moore (see p. Ill supra). 

12. Title: I’d mourn the hopes. 

First line: I’d mourn the hopes that leave me. 

T une: The rose-tree. 

Source: Shield’s Poor Soldier (1782), p. 14: A rose tree full in bearing. (Name of 
old air not given.) 


1. Title: Come o’er the sea. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Cuishlih ma chree. 

Source: Dr. Kelly’s MS. book (see p. Ill, supra). 

2. Title: Has sorrow thy young days shaded? 

First line: same. 

Tune: Sly Patrick. 

Source: Dr. Kelly’s MS. book (see p. Ill, supra). 



3. Title: No, not more welcome. 

First line: No, not more welcome the fairy numbers. 

Tune : Luggelaw. 

Source: given by Petrie to Moore (see p. Ill supra). 

4. Title: When first I met thee. 

First line: When first 1 met thee, warm and young. 

Tune: O Patrick, fly from me. 

Source: Moore adds the following footnote to his song: — 

‘This very beautiful Irish air was sent to me by a gentleman of Oxford. 
There is much pathos in the original words, and both words and music have 
all the features of authenticity.’ 

(For possible identification of contributor see p. Ill supra.) 

5. Title : While history’s muse. 

First line: While history’s muse the memorial was keeping. 

Tune: Paddy whack. 

Source: Hibernian Muse (c. 1786), p. 28: Paddy whack. 

6. Title: The time I’ve lost in wooing. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Pease upon a trencher. 

Source: Shield's Poor Soldier (1782), p. 25, the name of the old air not being 
given; or, less probably, Aird (1782), I, p. 58: Pease upon a trencher, the 
name given by Moore. 

7. Title: Oh! where’s the slave? 

First line: Oh ! where’s the slave, so lowly. 

Tune: Sios agus sios liom. 

Source: For this song Moore has used two airs 

(a) ‘Sheen sheesh igus souse lum’, taken from Wright (c. 1730), and for the 
concluding four bars of the song 

(b) ‘An Irish Dump’ taken from Hibernian Muse (c. 1786), p. 1. 

Moore adds the following in a footnote: ‘The few bars, which I have here 
taken the liberty of connecting with this spirited air, form one of those 
melancholy strains of our music, which are called Dumps. I found it in a 
collection entitled the Hibernian Muse, and we are told in the essay [p. 5] 
prefixed to that Work, that “it is said to have been sung by the Irish Women 
on the field of battle, after a terrible slaughter made by Cromwell’s troops 
in Ireland.” ’ 

8. Title: Come, rest in this bosom. 

First line: Come, rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer! 

T une: Lough Sheeling. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 9: Lough Sheeling. (Given to Holden by 
Petrie — see p. Ill supra). 

9. Title: ’Tis gone, and for ever. 

First line: ’Tis gone, and for ever, the light we saw breaking. 

Tune: Savournah deelish. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 35: Savournah deelish. 

10. Title: I saw from the beach. 

First line: I saw from the beach, when the morning was shining. 

Tune: Miss Molly. 

Source: Fitzsimons and Smith (1814), p. 7 : Miss Molly my dear I’ll go. 

11. Title: Fill the bumper fair! 

First line: same. 

Tune: Bob and loan. 

Source: O’Farrell’s Pocket Companion (c. 1801-10), III, p. 2: Love & whiskey or 
Bob & loan — with vars. Irish. 

12. Title: The farewell to my harp. 

First line: Dear harp of my country ! in darkness I found thee. 

T une: New langolee. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 31; Lango lee; or, less probably, Thomson’s 
Scottish Airs, vol. IV (1805). p. 167: Langolee. At the latter reference it 
is marked ‘Irish’ in Contents. 




1. Title: My gentle harp! 

First line: My gentle harp! once more I waken. 

Tune: The coina or dirge. 

Source: not found. 

2. Title: As slow our ship. 

First line: As slow our ship her foamy track. 

T une: The girl I left behind me. 

Source: probably Himes Pocket Book (c. 1810), III, p. 67: The girl I left 
behind me. 

As part of a very long note to this tune, Chappell refers to the fact that it 
was used by Moore, and continues : ‘All the evidence I have been able to 
collect is against the authenticity of Moore’s version. Among Irish musical 
authorities I enquired of the late Edward Bunting, J. A. Wade, J. C. Clifton 
and Tom Cooke; among English, of Dr. Crotch, W. Ayrton and of several 
band-masters. All were well acquainted with the tune, but no one had heard 
it as printed by Moore before the publication of his Melodies’ ( Popular 
Music of the Olden Time, II, pp. 708-9). 

3. Title: In the morning of life. 

First line: In the morning of life, when its cares are unknown. 

Tune: The little harvest rose. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 24: The little harvest rose. 

4. Title: When cold in the earth. 

First line: When cold in the earth lies the friend thou hast lov’d. 

Tune: Limerick’s lamentation. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 55: Limerick’s lamentation. 

5. Title: Remember thee! 

First line: Remember thee ! yes, while there’s life in this heart. 

Tune: Castle Tirowen. 

Source: not found. 

6. Title: Wreath the bowl. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Noran Kista. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. I, P- 1 '• Noreenkeesta. 

7. Title: Whene’er I see those smiling eyes. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Father Quinn. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 11 : Father Quinn. 

8. Title: If thou’Lt be mine. 

First line: If thou'lt be mine, the treasures of air. 

Tune: The winnowing sheet. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 54: The winnowing sheet. 

9. Title: To ladies’ eyes. 

First line: To ladies’ eyes a round, boy. 

Tune: Fague a ballagh. 

Source: not found. The tune is long associated with the Royal Irish Fusilier? 
and in this connection General Sir Hubert Gough kindly writes to me under 
date 3rd March, 1959: ‘The origin of the phrase “Faugh a Ballagh” goes 
back to the order given to the Royal Irish Fusiliers at the battle of Barrosa 
[1811] in the Peninsular War. The regiment was then commanded by 
Colonel Hugh Gough, afterwards Field Marshal Viscount Gough. Things 
were critical at one stage of the battle. Colonel Hugh Gough brought up 
the Royal Irish Fusiliers to attack the French line. In those days most Irish 
soldiers (and indeed civilians) spoke Irish. Hugh Gough gave the order 
“Faugh a Ballagh” [Fag a’ bealach ] — “Clear the way”, which the battalion, 
did. “Faugh a Ballagh” has been the regimental motto, as it is also the 
motto of the Gough family.’ In the circumstances mentioned by Sir Hubert, 
the tune would doubtless be familiar to anyone who, like Moore, was born 
and bred in Dublin. 




10. Title: Forget not the field. 

First line: Forget not the field where they perished. 

Tune' The lamentation of Aughrim. 

Source: not found. 

11. Title: They may rail at this life. 

First line: They may rail at this life — from the hour I began it. 

Tune: Noch bonin shin doe. 

Source: not found. 

12. Title: Oh for the swords of former time! 

First line: same. 

Tune: Unknown. 

Source: Shield's Poor Soldier (1782), p. 16, to a song entitled ‘Dermot’s welcome 
as the may’, the name of the old air not being given. 


1. Title: Ne’er ask the hour. 

First line: Ne'er ask the hour — what is it to us. 

Tune: My husband’s a journey to Portugal gone. 

Source: not found. Possibly from Croker (see p. 112 supra). 

This is ‘The Buff Coat Has No Fellow’, printed by Chappell ( Popular Music 
of the Olden Time, I, p. 342 et seq.). Chappell states: ‘Moore appropriated 
it, under the name of "My husband’s a journey to Portugal gone”, although 
in the opinion of Dr. Crotch. Mr. Wade and others it is not at all like an 
Irish tune.’ 

2. Title: Sail on, sail on. 

First line: Sail on, sail on, thou fearless bark. 

Tune: The humming of the Ban. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 30: The humming of the Ban. 

3. Title: The parallel. 

First line: Yes, sad one of Sion — if closely resembling. 

Tune: I would rather than Ireland. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 27: I would rather than Ireland. 

4. Title: The fortune-teller. 

First line: Down in the valley come meet me to-night. 

Tune: Open the door softly. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 8: Open the door softly. 

5. Title: Drink of this cup. 

First line: Drink of this cup — you’ll find there’s a spell in. 

Tune: Paddy O’Rafferty. 

Source: O'Farrell’ s Pocket Companion (c. 1801-10), II, p. 106: Paddy O’Rafferty. 

6. Title: Oh, ye dead. 

First line: Oh, ye dead! oh, ye dead! whom we know by the light you give. 

T une: Plough tune. 

Source: Walker (1786), no. XIII: Plough tune. 

7. Title: O’Donohue’s mistress. 

First line: Of all the fair months, that round the sun. 

Tune: The little and great mountain. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 35 : The little and great mountain. 

8. Title: Echo. 

First line: How sweet the answer echo makes. 

Tune: The wren. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 25: The wren. 

9. Title: Oh banquet not. 

First line: Oh banquet not in those shining bowers. 

Tune: Planxty Irwine. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 7 : Planxty Irwin. 



10. Title: Thee, thee, only thee! 

First line: The dawning of morn, the day-light’s sinking. 

Tune: Staca an mharaga. The market-stake. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 69: Staca an mharaga. The market stake. 

11. Title: Shall the harp then be silent? 

First line: Shall the harp then be silent, when he, who first gave. 
Tune: Macfarlane’s lamentation. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 14: Mac Farlane’s lamentation. 

12. Title: Oh the sight entrancing. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Planxty Sudley. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 68: Planxty Sudley. 


1. Title: Sweet Innisfallen. 

First line: Sweet Innisfallen, fare thee well. 

Tune: The captivating youth. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 1 1 : The captivating youth. 

2. Title: ’Twas one of those dreams. 

First line: ’Twas one of those dreams, that by music are brought. 

Tune: The song of the woods. 

Source: not found. 

3. Title: Fairest! put on awhile. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Cummilum. 

Source: Jackson (1774), p. 7: Cummilum. There is an odd note giving a different 
and erroneous source at p. 100 of Letters to Power. 

4. Title: Quick! we have but a second. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Paddy Snap. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol II. p. 27 : Paddy O’Snap. 

5. Title: And doth not a meeting like this. 

First line: And doth not a meeting like this make amends. 

Tune: Unknown. 

Source: not found, but there are very close variants, both entitled ‘Round the 
world for sport’, in O' Farrell’s Collection (c. 1797-1800), p. 28, and Holden 
(1806), vol. I, p. 23. 

6. Title: The mountain sprite. 

First line: In yonder valley there dwelt, alone. 

Tune: The mountain sprite. 

Source: Owenson (1805), p. 10: As on the wave, or The mountain sprite by 
Carolan. [The tune is not by Carolan.] 

7. Title: As vanquished Erin. 

First line: As vanquish’d Erin wept beside. 

Tune: The Boyne water. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 40: The cavalcade of the Boyne. 

8. Title: Desmond’s song. 

First line: By the Feal’s wave benighted. 

Tune: Unknown. 

Source: not found, but probably contributed by Croker. Croker states ( Letters 
to Power, p. xviii) that some of the airs given by him to Moore had also 
had words written to them by Lover and Bayly; and this air was used by 
T. H. Bayly for his celebrated song ‘O leave me to my sorrow’. The latter 
fact is alluded to by Moore in a footnote. 

k 2 



9. Title: They know not my heart. 

First line: They know not my heart, who believe there can be. 

Tune: Coolon das. 

Source: not found. 

10. Title: I wish I was by that dim lake. 

First line: same. 

Tune: I wish I was on yonder hill. 

Source: not found. This tune is virtually identical with X, 5 (Shule aroon). 

11. Title: She sung of love. 

First line: She sung of love — while o’er her lyre. 

Tune: The Munster man. 

Source: not found. 

12. Title: Sing — sing — music was given. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The humours of Ballamaguiry, or, The old langolee. 

Source: with title The humours of Balamagairy’ (sic), Thomson’s Irish Airs, 
vol. II (1816), no. 36; with title ‘Old Langolee’, O' Farrell’s Pocket Com- 
panion (c. 1801-10), III, p. 15 and Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 27. 


1. Title: Though humble the banquet. 

First line: Though humble the banquet to which I invite thee. 

Tune: Farewell, Eamon. 

Source: not found. 

2. Title: Sing, sweet harp. 

First line: Sing, sweet harp, oh sing to me. 

Tune: Unknown. 

Source: Smith (1827), pp. 60-61. Moore has the following footnote: ‘This grace- 
ful air has already been provided with words not unworthy of its beauty 
in a collection of “Select Melodies”, published by Mr. Smith, of Edinburgh’. 
The poet’s treatment of this source-tune is discussed at p. 115 supra. 

3. Title: Song of the battle-eve. 

First line: To-morrow, comrade, we. 

Tune: Cruiskeen lawn. 

Source: not found. Moffat states in a footnote (p. 136) thait Holden printed ‘the 
identical air’. The reference is doubtless to Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 38, 
but unfortunately this differs rather widely from Moore’s version, which has 
not been found. 

4. Title: The wandering bard. 

First line: What life like that of the bard can be. 

Tune: Planxty O’Reilly. 

Source: Bunting (1796), p. 25; Planxty Reilly. — Carolan. 

5. Title: Alone in crowds to wander on. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Shule aroon. 

Source: not found. This tune is virtually identical with IX, 10 (I wish I was on 
yonder hill). 

6. Title: I’ve a secret to tell thee. 

First line: I’ve a secret to tell thee, but, hush! not here. 

Tune: Oh southern breeze. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 37 : O southern breeze. 

7. Title: Song of Innisfail. 

First line: They came from a land beyond the sea. 

Tune: Peggy bawn. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 56: Peggy ban. 



8. Title: The night dance. 

First line: Strike the gay harp! see the moon is on high. 

Tune: The nightcap. 

Source: Jackson (1774), p. 5: Jackson’s night cap; perhaps via Holden (1806), 
vol. I, p. 6, where the title is The night cap — Jackson’. 

9. Title: There are sounds of mirth. 

First line: There are sounds of mirth in the night-air ringing. 

Tune: The priest in his boots. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. I, p. 4: The priest in his boots. 

10. Title: Oh Arranmore, lov’d Arranmore. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Killdroughalt fair. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 34: Kildroughalt fair. 

11. Title: Lay his sword by his side. 

First line: Lay his sword by his side — it hath serv’d him too well. 

Tune: If the sea were ink. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 10: If the sea were ink. 

12. Title: Oh! could we do with this world of ours. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Basket of oysters. 

Source: O'FarreU’s Pocket Companion (c. 1801-10), IV, p. 123: The basket of 
oysters — Irish. 


1. Title: The wine cup is circling. 

First line: The wine cup is circling in Almhin’s hall. 

Tune: Michael Hoy. 

Source: not found. 

2. Title: The dream of those days. 

First line: The dream of those days when first I sung thee is o’er. 

Tune: I love you above all the rest. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 22: I love you above all the rest. 

3. Title: From this hour the pledge is given. 

First line: same. 

Tune: Renardine. 

Source: Holden (1806), vol. II, p. 15: Renardine. 

4. Title : Silence is in our festal halls. 

First line: same. 

Tune: The green woods of Truigha. 

Source: Bunting (1809), p. 42 : The green woods of Truigha. 





Alone in crowds to wander on X, 5 

And doth not a meeting like 

this make amends IX, 5 

As a beam o’er the face of the 

waters may glow I, 1 1 

As slow our ship her foamy 

track VII, 2 

As vanquish'd Erin wept beside IX, 7 

At the mid hour of night, when 

stars are weeping, I fly V, 2 

Avenging and bright fall the 

swift sword of Erin IV, 9 


Believe me, if all those endear- 
ing young charms II, 12 

By that lake, whose gloomy 

shore IV, 6 

By the Feal’s wave benighted IX. 8 

By the hope within us springing III, 6 

Come o’er the sea VI, 1 

Come, rest in this bosom, my 

own stricken deer! VI, 8 

Come, send round the wine, 

and leave points of belief II, 10 

Dear harp of my country! in 

darkness I found thee VI, 12 


Down in the valley come meet 

me to-night VIII, 4 

Drink of this cup — you’ll find 

there’s a spell in VIII, 5 

Drink to her, who long III, 2 


ERIN! OH ERIN! Ill, 1 

Erin! the tear and the smile in 

thine eyes I, 3 


Fairest! put on awhile IX, 3 

Farewell! — but, whenever you 
welcome the hour V, 9 

Fill the bumper fair! VI, 11 

Fly not yet, ’tis just the hour I, 7 

Forget not the field where they 

perished VII, 10 

From this hour the pledge is 

given Sup., 3 

Go where glory waits thee I, 1 

Has sorrow thy young days 

shaded? VI, 2 

Here we dwell in holiest bowers IV, 11 
How dear to me the hour when 

day-light dies II, 2 

How oft has the benshee cried! II, 5 

How sweet the answer echo 

makes VIII, 8 

I’d mourn the hopes that leave 

me V, 12 

If thou’lt be mine, the treasures 

of air VII, 8 


In the morning of life, when its 
cares are unknown VII, 3 

In yonder valley there dwelt 
alone IX, 6 

I saw from the beach when the 

morning was shining VI, 10 

I saw thy form in youthful 

prime IV, 5 

It is not the tear at this moment 
shed III, 11 

I’ve a secret to tell thee, but, 

hush! not here X, 6 

I wish I was by that dim lake IX, 10 

Lay his sword by his side — it 

hath serv’d him too well X, 11 

Lesbia has a beaming eye IV, 4 

Let Erin remember the days of 

old II, 8 

Like the bright lamp that lay 

in Kildare’s holy shrine III, 1 



My gentle harp! once more I 

waken VII, 1 

Nay, tell me not. dear! that the 

goblet drowns IV, 8 

Ne’er ask the hour — what is it 

to us VIII, 1 

Night clos’d around the con- 
queror’s way III, 7 

No, not more welcome the fairy 

numbers VI, 3 


Of all the fair months, that 

round the sun VIII, 7 

Oh Arranmore, lov’d Arranmore X, 10 

Oh, banquet not in those shin- 
ing bowers VIII, 9 

Oh! blame not the bard, if he 

fly to the bowers III, 3 



Oh! breathe not his name — let 

it sleep in the shade I, 4 

Oh, could we do with this world 

of ours X, 12 

Oh! doubt me not — the season V, 10 
Oh for the swords of former 

time! VII, 12 

Oh! had we some bright little 

isle of our own! V, 8 

Oh ! haste, and leave this sacred 

isle II, 1 

Oh! the days are gone, when 

beauty bright IV, 1 

Oh, the sight entrancing VIII, 12 

Oh! think not my spirits are 
always as light I, 8 

Oh ! ’tis sweet to think that, 

where’er we rove III, 8 

Oh! weep for the hour II, 7 

Oh! where’s the slave, so lowly VI, 7 

Oh, ye dead! oh, ye dead! 
whom we know by the light 
you give VIII, 6 

One bumper at parting! — tho’ 

many V, 3 


Quick! we have but a second IX, 4 

Remember the glories of Brien 

the brave I, 2 

Remember thee! yes, while 

there’s life in this heart VII, 5 

Rich and rare were the gems 

she wore I, 10 

Sail on, sail on, thou fearless 

bark VIII, 2 



Shall the harp then be silent, 

when he, who first gave VIII, 11 

She is far from the land, where 

her young hero sleeps IV, 7 

She sung of love — while o’er 

her lyre IX, 1 1 

Silence is in our festal halls Sup., 4 

Silent, oh Moyle! be the roar of 

thy water II, 9 

Sing — sing — music was given IX, 12 

Sing, sweet harp, oh sing to me X, 2 


Strike the gay harp, see the 

moon is on high X. 8 

Sublime was the warning which 

Liberty spoke II. 11 

Sweet Innisfallen, fare thee well IX, 1 

Take back the virgin page II, 3 

The dawning of morn, the day- 
light’s sinking VIII, 10 


The dream of those days when 

first I sung thee is o’er Sup., 2 


HARP VI, 12 


The harp that once, thro’ Tara’s 

halls I, 6 





The minstrel-boy to the war is 

gone V, 6 





There are sounds of mirth in 

the night-air ringing X, 9 

There is not in the wide world 

a valley so sweet I, 12 





The time I’ve lost in wooing VI, 6 

The valley lay smiling before me V, 7 


The wine-cup is circling in 

Almhin’s hall Sup., 1 

They came from a land beyond 

the sea X, 7 

They know not my heart, who 

believe there can be IX, 9 

They may rail at this life — from 

the hour I began it VII, 11 

The young May moon is beam- 
ing. love V, 5 

This life is all chequer’d with 

pleasures and woes IV, 12 

Tho’ dark are our sorrows, 

to-day we’ll forget them IV, 2 

Tho’ the last glimpse of Erin 

with sorrow I see I, 9 

Though humble the banquet to 

which I invite thee X, 1 

Thro’ grief and thro’ danger thy 

smile hath cheer'd my way! Ill, 9 

Through Erin’s isle V, 1 



’Tis believ’d that this harp, 

which I wake now for thee III, 12 
’Tis gone, and for ever, the 

light we saw breaking VI, 9 

’Tis the last rose of summer V, 4 

To ladies’ eyes a round, boy VII, 9 

To-morrow, comrade, we X, 3 

’Twas one of those dreams, 

that by music are brought IX, 2 


Weep on, weep on, your hour 

is past IV, 3 

We may roam thro’ this world 

like a child at a feast II, 6 

What life like that of the bard 

can be X, 4 

What the bee is to the flowret IV, 10 

When cold in the earth lies the 

friend thou hast lov’d VII, 4 

When daylight was yet sleeping 

under the billow III, 5 

Whene’er I see those smiling 

eyes VII, 7 

When first I met thee, warm 

and young VI, 4 

When he who adores thee has 

left but the name I, 5 

When in death I shall calm 

recline II, 4 

When through life unblest we 

rove III, 10 

While gazing on the moon’s 

light III, 4 

While history’s muse the 

memorial was keeping VI, 5 

Wreath the bowl VII, 6 

Yes, sad one of Sion — if closely 

resembling VIII, 3 

You remember Ellen, our 

hamlet’s pride V, 1 1 




Aileen Aroon 

I, 3 

Alley Croker 

V, 1 

Arrah, my dear Eveleen 

II, 9 

Banks of Banna 

III, 10 

[Bard’s legacy, The] 

II, 4 

Basket of oysters 

X, 12 

Black joke. The 

II, 11 

Bob and Joan 

VI. 11 

Boyne Water, The 

IX, 7 

Brown Irish girl, The 

IV, 6 

Brown maid, The 

I, 4 

Brown thorn. The 

II, 1 

* Bunch of green rushes that 
grew at the brim. The 

IV. 12 

Captivating youth. The 

IX, 1 

♦Castle Tirowen 

VII, 5 

Cean dubh delish 

IV, 11 

*Coina or Dirge, The 

VII, 1 

♦Coolon das 

IX, 9 


I, 9 

Crooghan a venee 

IV, 9 

♦Cruiskeen lawn 

X, 3 

♦Cuishlih ma chree 

VI, 1 


IX, 3 

Dandy O!, The V, 5 and [II, 7] 

Dear black maid, The 

II, 5 

Dennis, don’t be threatening 

IV, 8 

[Dermot’s welcome as the 

VII, 12 


II, 3 


IV, 5 

*Fague a ballagh 

VII, 9 

Fairy queen. The 

III, 6 

*Farewell, Eamon 

X, 1 

Father Quin 

VII, 7 

Fox’s sleep, The 

I, 5 

Gage fane 

III, 12 


II, 6 

Girl I left behind me, The 

VII, 2 


I, 6 

Green woods of Truigha, The 

Sup., 4 

Groves of Blarney 

V, 4 

Heigh ho! my Jacky 

III, 2 

Humming of the Ban, The 

VIII, 2 

Humours of Ballamaguiry, The 

IX, 12 

If the sea were ink 

X, 11 

I love you above all the rest 

Sup., 2 

I once had a true-love 

III, 9 

[Irish Dump, An] 

VI, 7b 

*1 wish I was on yonder hill 

IX, 10 

I would rather than Ireland 

VIII, 3 

John O'Reilly the active 

I, 8 

Killdroughalt fair 

X, 10 

Kitty of Coleraine 

III, 5a 

Kitty Tyrrel 

III, 3 

♦Lamentation of Aughrim, The 

VII, 10 

Limerick’s lamentation 

VII, 4 

Little and great mountain. The 

VIII, 7 

Little harvest rose. The 

VII, 3 

Lough Sheeling 

VI, 8 


VI, 3 

Macfarlane’s lamentation 

VIII, 11 

Maid of the valley. The 

I, 1 

Market-stake, The 

VIII, 10 

♦Michael Hoy 

Sup., 1 

Miss Molly 

VI, 10 

♦Moll Roe in the morning 

V, 3 

♦Moll Roone 

V, 9 

Molly Macalpin 

I, 2 

Molly, my dear 

V, 2 

♦Moreen, The 

V, 6 

Mountain sprite. The 

IX, 6 

♦Munster man. The 

IX, 11 

♦My husband’s a journey to 
Portugal gone 

VIII, 1 

My lodging is on the cold 

II, 12 

New Langolee 

VI, 12 

Nightcap, The 

X, 8 

♦Noch bonin shin doe 

VII, 11 

Nora Creina 

IV, 4 

Noran kista 

VII, 6 

♦Old head of Denis, The 

I, 12 

Old Langolee, The 

IX, 12 

Old woman. The 

IV, 1 


III, 4 

*0 Patrick fly from me 

VI, 4 

Open the door 

IV, 7 

Open the door softly 

VIII, 4 

Oh southern breeze 

X, 6 



Paddy O’Rafferty 

VIII, 5 

Paddy snap 

IX, 4 

♦Paddy’s resource 

III, 5b 

Paddy whack 

VI, 5 

Pease upon a trencher 

VI, 6 

Peggy bawn 

X, 7 

Planxty Irwine 

VIII, 9 

Planxty Kelly 

I, 7 

Planxty O'Reilly 

X, 4 

Planxty Sudley 

VIII, 12 

Plough tune 

VIII, 6 

Pretty girl milking her cow. 

V, 7 

Pretty girl of Derby, O!, The 

II, 7 

Priest in his boots, The 

X, 9 

Red fox. The 

II, 8 


Sup., 3 

Rose tree. The 

V, 12 

[Round the world for sport] 

IX, 5 

St. Patrick’s Day 

IV, 2 

Savournah deelish 

VI, 9 

♦Sheelah na Guira 

V. 8 

♦Shule aroon 

X, 5 

Sios agus sios liom 

VI, 7a 

Sixpence. The 

III, 11 

♦Sly Patrick 

VI, 2 

Song of sorrow, The IV, 3 

*Song of the woods, The IX, 2 

Staca an mharaga VIII, 10 

Summer is coming. The I, 10 

♦Thady, you gander III, 8 

Thamama hulla III, 1 

Thy fair bosom III, 7 

Twisting of the rope. The II, 2 

Unknown [The bard’s legacy] II, 4 

Unknown [The Dandy O!] II, 7 

Unknown [Dermot’s welcome 

as the may] VII, 12 

♦Unknown [? Round the world 
for sport] IX, 5 

♦Unknown [probably from 
Croker] IX, 8 

♦Unknown [‘Old Irish Melody’ 

from Smith’s Select Melodies ] X, 2 

We brought the summer with 

us II, 10 

♦Were I a clerk V, 11 

Winnowing sheet. The VII, 8 

Wren, The VIII, 8 

Yellow horse. The IV, 10 

Yellow Wat and the fox V, 10 

Young man’s dream, The I, 11 


By Brian 6 Cufv 
[Read 6th November, 1956] 

^AOMETIME towards the end of his life Daivf 6 Bruadair, that great 
^ Munster poet of the seventeenth century who had lived through the 
Cromwellian wars and the Restoration and had hailed with joy the 
crowning of James II in 1685, addressed to a fellow-countryman of his 
from East Cork a poem of welcome on his return safe from England. 
This is how he began: 

Failte I Cheallaigh ria Sir Seamus, 
sochraiah sinn re teacht an trein 
da thoigh tar linn slan a Sacsaibh, 

mal nach slim do chasnaimh cheim. 1 
‘May O’Kelly’s welcome greet Sir James, enriched are we since the 
brave man has come safe across the sea from England to his house, a 
chief who is not weak in maintaining positions.’ 

In seventeen more stanzas he spoke with glowing phrases about the 
subject of his poem, whom he identified as Seamus Mac Coitir, and about 
his wife, whom he described as a Plunkett from Louth. 

Like many of 6 Bruadair’s poems this one contains allusions which 
are meaningless to us unless we have a knowledge of contemporary events. 
For instance, having spoken vaguely of Cotter’s service to the Crown, 
O Bruadair goes on : 

E go misneach d’fhiort an Athar neamhdha 
d’eignigh fiucha ar fud a dheargnamhad 
i ngleas gur scuch don mbioth a dtarbh tana 
’s da eis sin trie do sciub go baile an baire. 2 
Fr. MacErlean, who has edited 6 Bruadair’s poems, has translated that: 
‘He with courage that was aided by the Heavenly Father’s might 
Forced into a state of fury all his bitter enemies, 

And adroitly from the world removed the bull that led their herd. 
After which he whisked the ball home nimbly and so won the game.’ 
This allusion to removing ‘the bull that led their herd’ is pretty vague, but 
6 Bruadair did not think it necessary to be more specific. He did, how^ 
ever, say that Cotter received a reward for his services: 

An ruire do reidh 6 cheadchoin chuire na geleas 
tug ridireacht sceithe is deisceart inge don fhear 
ionnus nach treata meith na miochaireacht breab 
tug tideal don te acht geire a choilg i ngal. 3 

’O Bruad, iii, p. 186. 
z ibid„ p. 188. 

6 ibid. 



Again, for convenience, I quote Fr. MacErlean’s translation: 

‘The sovereign whom he rescued from the chief Cu Chulainn of the 

Gave him an escutcheoned knighthood and land obtained by right 
of sword, 

It was neither fattened flocks nor the cajolery of bribes 

Gave this man his title, but the keenness of his blade in war.' 

In spite of the seeming vagueness of this part of the poem, I have 
no doubt that contemporary society in Cork would have understood per- 
fectly to what the poet was alluding, whereas a couple of centuries later 
Cotter is forgotten, and readers of 6 Bruadair have to work their way 
through seventeenth-century history if they wish to get the true meaning 
of the poet’s words. Although in the account of Cotter which follows I 
have dealt in greatest detail with the exploit referred to by O Bruadair, 
I have attempted within the limits of the time available to me to sketch 
his family background and to outline his subsequent career. 4 

There is no need for me to enumerate my sources here. They include 
contemporary and near-contemporary books and pamphlets, as well as 
contemporary records among the British State Papers and in other 
collections, including some from Switzerland and France. However, I must 
mention specifically two important sources. The first is, in fact, what led 
me in the first instance to become interested in Cotter. It is an account 
of the career of James Cotter which is given in the preface to an Irish 
text named Parliament na mBan 5 or ‘The Parliament of Women’ which 
was dedicated by its author to Cotter’s eldest son and was composed in 
1697. This paper might be said to be a demonstration of the trust- 
worthiness of this source. 

The second is an extremely valuable non-contemporary source which 
in part might be put on a par with the contemporary material. It is a 
manuscript preserved now in the National Library of Ireland where it is 
numbered 711. It was compiled about the middle of the last century by 
Rev. George E. Cotter, a direct descendant of the subject of this paper, 
and it contains copies of many seventeenth-century documents preserved 

4 This paper was prepared as a lecture for the Society and was delivered on 
November 6, 1956. In preparing it for publication I have added references, and have 
revised it to some extent. The account of the later period of Cotter’s life (subsequent 
“to his second marriage in 1688) could easily be expanded with the aid of extant 
documents. A few matters, such as the date of Cotter’s knighthood and the nature 
of his connection or acquaintance with the Duke of York (later James II) remain 

Published by Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1952. Much of the material 
used in this paper was assembled by me while, as a member of the staff of the 
Institute, I was engaged in editing this text. I am indebted to the authorities of the 
National Library of Ireland and of the Royal Irish Academy for facilities given me 
while working at this material, and to M. P. E. Shazmann of the Sohweizerische 
Landesbibliothek in Bern, M. le Prof. L. Seylaz of Lausanne, M. Jacques Meurgey 
de Tupigny of the Archives Nationales de France, Mr. Tymings of the British 
Public Record Office and Miss Poyser of the Record Office of the British Houses of 


at that time in the Cotter family seat at Rockforest, Co. Cork. It also 
contains traditional accounts of James Cotter recorded by Mr. Cotter 
from old inhabitants of the Cotter district in East Cork. As we shall 
see, these accounts are exceedingly interesting and reinforce the view that 
folk-memory is not to be ignored in the study of history. 

The Cotters, who are of Scandinavian origin, deriving their name 
Mac Coitir from an ancestor Oitir, can be traced back five or six hundred 
years in Co. Cork, especially in East Cork. 6 We need only go back to 
Edmond Cotter, father of our James, who held lands in the Barony of 
Barrymore. In 1627 he married Ellish Connell, 7 and as James was their 
second son we can place his birth sometime about 1630. Edmond Cotter, 
who in contemporary records is described as ‘gentleman’, seems to have 
been a man of substance, for in 1638 David, 1st Earl Barrymore, 
mortgaged the castle, farms and lands of Ballinsperrig and Lacken to h im 
for the sum of £300 8 . In 1652 the 2nd Earl Barrymore leased the Ballin- 
sperrig lands to him for seventy-two years at £5 a year 9 and in the Census 
of Ireland of 1659 Cotter was named as holder of them. 10 In the mean- 
time he had also acquired in 1656 all or part of the Great Island of 
Cove. 11 Following the death of his first wife Edmond Cotter married 
again, 12 and in his will dated August 15, 1660, he left the lease of Ballin- 

6 I have been able to construct the following genealogical table for James Cotter 
and his immediate descendants from information found in the Cotter MS. Some of 
this information was, according to Rev. Mr. Cotter, originally contained in a 
genealogical paper of the Cotter family which was found at Rockforest after the 
death of Sir James Laurence Cotter, 2nd Bart. (Cotter MS., p. 33) : — 

William Cotter + dr. of Thomas Hodnett of Great Island 


Garrett Cotter + dr. of Garrett Barry 


Edmond Cotter ( 1 1 660) + Elizabeth (Elfish) Connell, dr. of John 

J Connell of Barryscourt 

John Ellen Mary Catherine 
James (t 1705) + Ellen Plunkett (f 1698), dr. of Lord Louth. 

Laurence Mary Alice Monica 
James (t 1 720) + Margaret Mathew 

James (t 1770) Edmond Ellen Elizabeth 

For further genealogical information see The Cotter Family of Rockforest’ in 
JCHAS xliii, pp. 21-31. 

'Cork Marriage License Bonds, JCHAS Suppl., p. 32. 

8 Cotter MS., p. 42. 

9 ibid. 

w Census of Ireland, 1659, p. 238. 

uCotter MS., p. 42. 

li ibid„ p. 39, according to which his second wife was named Ellen Sarsfield. On 
p. 37 it is stated that Ellen Connell, his first wife’s sister, was married to ‘Dominick 
Sarsfield, second son of Thomas Sarsfield, Lord Killmallock. a peer of 1688’. There 
is no record of this marriage in the Index to the Cork or Cloyne Marriage License 




sperrig to his second wife and her children. 13 His other children were 
well provided for. To his eldest sons Garrett and James he left in equal 
shares the lease of Ballyvilloone and Lissaniskey in the Great Island, and 
to each of them separately he left the lease of an additional property. 
James was also left his father’s brewing furnace. 14 

These facts are mentioned in order to give an idea of James Cotter’s 
background. In spite of the upheavals caused by the Cromwellian and 
other wars the Cotters appear at the Restoration as holders of extensive 
lands in East Cork. 15 It is possible that some members of the family were 
Protestants at this time, but I have no direct evidence of this. 16 

Apart from mention of James Cotter in a deed of 1644 17 and in his 

father’s will of 1660 18 I have no account of him in the early part of his 

life, but it is certain that for some reason he left home and he may have 
joined the Royalist forces in England or on the Continent. According to 
an unconfirmed source he was ‘a private trooper in the Guards’, 19 which 

seems possible. At any rate we may deduce that at the time of the 

Restoration he was a loyal follower of Charles II and was anxious to 
serve him should the occasion arise — as it did before long. 

At this stage we must go back twelve years to the trial and execution 
of Charles I. Among those involved in that affair were John Lisle, who 
drew up the form of sentence, and General Edmund Ludlow, who signed 
the execution warrant. At the Restoration they fled abroad, fearing that 
their lives would be forfeit, and eventually they settled in Vevay in 
Switzerland under the protection of the government of the canton of 
Berne. Lisle is reputed to have plotted in Switzerland in order to revive 
what was called ‘the Fanatick party’ and to dethrone King Charles, where- 
upon the King issued a proclamation offering a reward to ‘whosoever 
wou’d bring back, or otherwise suppress the said Lile\ 20 This is where 
Cotter enters the picture, and it is at this point that his career as outlined 
in Parliament na mBan begins. Here is what its author says : 

‘feach cread e an mhuinighin do bhf ag Rfgh Cormac ina luth, ina 
mheisneach, agus ina chomhall, an tan do thug se ceannas agus 
ordughadh dho gluaiseacht mar aon le beagan buidhne ag 
toraigheacht an traotura Laidhil agus da threasgairt, gmomh noch 
do-rinne Seamus go hathasach i n-eiric agus i ndfoghaltas bhais Rfgh 
Searlais’ (11. 52-7) 

i:i Edmond Cotter died in 1660 and was buried in Carrigtwohill Abbey where a 
monument to his memory was erected by his son James in 1686. 

14 Cotter MS., p. 41. 

15 According to an oral tradition recorded in the Cotter MS. (p. 1 1) the Cotters 
of Ballinsperrig had formerly held lands at Copingerstown and Scarth Mac Cotter, 
but had been turned out of both places in the time of Cromwell. 

1B The account cited on p. 145 might be taken to imply that James Cotter was not 
a Catholic about 1665. 

17 Cotter MS., p. 42. 
l8 ibid., p. 41. 
i mid., p. 120. 

20 See infra, p. 141. 


‘see what trust King Charles had in his strength, his courage and his 
performance, when he gave him authority and an order to go along 
with a small force in pursuit of the traitor Lisle to destroy him, a 
deed which James willingly did in requital of and in vengeance for 
the death of King Charles’. 21 

Lisle, then, is the ‘bull that led their herd’ of whom 6 Bruadair 
spoke in the poem which 1 mentioned at the outset. I have succeeded in 
confirming to a large extent the above account, although there are still 
some details about which I am in doubt. I can at least claim to have 
done better than the British Dictionary of National Biography which says 
that Lisle ‘was shot dead ... by an Irishman named Thomas 
Macdonnell’ ; 22 in the Volume of Errata published in 1904 corrects ‘named 
Thomas Macdonnell’ to ‘known as Thomas Macdonnell’; 23 and elsewhere 
states that Sir James Cotter was the ‘true name of the slayer’ and that 
‘Thomas MacDonnell, the name given in the English accounts, was a 
pseudonym circulated to avoid discovery’. 24 This latter statement is with- 
out foundation as we shall see. There seems to have been no secret about 
Cotter’s connection with the killing of Lisle. One thing of which there 
can be no question is that there is plenty of material on the affair. Let us 
begin with the English State Papers. 

In the Domestic State Papers for 1663-4 there are accounts of the 
movements of Ludlow, Lisle and other regicides. One of these, dated 
December 29, 1663, is a statement from a ‘Monsieur Riodon’ which says 
that Ludlow and Lisle are living in Vevay. It suggests means for taking 
them, either with the co-operation of the Berne authorities or by force, 
and requests a letter from His Majesty to the Duke of Savoy who is 
disposed to serve His Majesty in this affair. 25 A further report from 
Riordan to Sir Henry Bennet, Principal Secretary of State to the Privy 
Council, is dated August 8, 1664 from Pontarly near Neufchatel. It tells 
of the terror in which the fugitives live, and mentions that some of them 
have removed to Lausanne. The writer hopes for success in his mission. 26 

Three days later, on Thursday, August 11, 1664, Lisle was shot dead 
while on his way to the Church of St. Francis in Lausanne. It appears 
from the Council Books of Lausanne that he had assumed the name of 
Field, but of course his identity was well known and the Council ordered 
that he should be interred in the Church of St. Francis. Here is the 
official record, dated August 11, 1664: ‘Ordonne, que le corps de Mr. 
Fild, Anglais, qui a ete tue ce matin en allant au presche a St-Fran^ois 
par un coup de carabine qui lui a ete lache par un cavalier etranger, 

21 The author of PB distinguishes the two Charles by using the name Scarlets to 
refer to Charles I and Cormac for Charles II. This method of differentiation was not 

22 DNB xxxiii, p. 342. 

23 DNB Errata, p. 182. 

2i DNB xxxiv. p. 434. 

25SP Dorn., Charles II. Vol. 86, Nos. 16. 17 = Cal. SP Dom., 1663-4. p. 380. 
26 SP Dom., Charles II, Vol. 101, no. 22 = Cal. SP Dom., 1663-4, p. 662. 



sera enseveli au temple de St-Fran9ois en consideration de ses qualites.’ 27 
Naturally the affair caused a stir, and the Berne authorities ordered an 
investigation. Following the receipt from the bailiff of Lausanne of a 
detailed report on the shooting 28 they expressed themselves of the 
opinion that greater protection might have been afforded to Lisle and 
that greater zeal might have been shown in endeavouring to arrest the 
culprits, all of whom had escaped. 

A detailed account of the plots against the fugitives is given by 
General Ludlow himself in his Memoirs published in 1699. According 
to him there were several persons involved at different times, some 
French, some Savoyards, some Irish. Sometime after September 1663 the 
English fugitives then living in Vevay got word of a design against their 
lives formed by ‘an Irish Man going under the name of Riardo, and 
belonging, as he said, to the Dutchess of Orleans ’ , 29 In November an 
attempt to seize or kill the fugitives was directed by ‘Riardo’, but was 
unsuccessful. 30 Ludlow states that ‘Riardo’, after the failure of the first 
attempt ‘was not only well received by the King, but was dispatched with 
new Orders to carry on the same Design; and that in his passage through 
France he had been with the Dutchess of Orleans, who was the principal 
Instrument used by his Gracious Majesty for incouraging and carrying on 
this Manly Attempt.’ 31 

Ludlow describes how Lisle, either really alarmed by the attempts 
on their lives or pretending to be so, had retired to Lausanne, thinking 
that it was Ludlow alone who was marked out for destruction. 32 His 
move was unfortunate for he laid himself more open to assassination. 
Ludlow gives what is practically an eye-witness account of the killing 
which, according to him, was carried out by two men, one of whom 
followed Lisle into the churchyard and shot him in the back while the 
other waited on horseback with a led horse for his accomplice. These two 
men had stayed for a week in Vevay and another week in Lausanne 
before the fateful day. 33 Later in his Memoirs Ludlow discloses the 
identity of these men who, as he says, ‘were employ’d by the Court of 
England and others to take away our Lives’. His source of information 
was ‘an English Gentleman who was well acquainted with their Affairs’. 
‘He assured me that the Villain who murder’d Mr. Lisle by shooting him 
into the Back, is an Irish-man and named O Croli; that the Name of his 
Companion, who waited with a fresh Horse to carry him off, is Cotter, 
and that he is a Native of the same Country; That the Assassin who goes 

27 From ‘Manuaux du Petit Consei! de Lausanne’, communicated to me by M. 
Shazmann. Further Swiss documents will be found in A. Stern, Briefe Englischer 
Fliichtlinge in der Schweiz. 

28 This report, referred to in the ‘Manual de Berne’, is now missing. 

29 Ludlow, Memoirs iii, p. 137. 

' 60 ibid., pp. 140-3. 

31 ibid p. 146. 

' 62 ibid„ p. 149. 

Si ibid., pp. 153-8. 


under the Name of Riardo is also an Irish-man, and his true Name Mac 
Carty’ , 34 

Another contemporary writer, Anthony Wood, likewise attributed the 
action to Irishmen, though he did not name them. According to his 
version Lisle was shot dead by one Irishman after which ‘two more 
Irish men rode into the press, and trampling on the body of Lisle with 
their horses feet, fled through the guards and escaped with little hurt’. 35 

Yet another account of the affair from a source closer to those who 
carried out the killing is found in A New Journey to France, a little 
travel-book published in London in 1715. 36 The author describes a visit 
which he paid to the house of Sir Florence O Donoughue near St. Cloud, 
a country seat which had been left to O Donoughue by his uncle Sir 
Miles Crowley. O Donoughue gave the following account of his uncle: 

‘After his Majesty King Charles the Second’s Restoration, a Proclama- 
tion was issued out, warning all those that were excepted in the King’s 
general Pardon, to come in within Forty Days, and that they shou’d have 
a fair Tryal according to the Laws of their Country, otherwise that they 
shou’d be Outlaw’d, and a Reward offer’d for bringing them dead or alive. 
Among those that stood out after the Death of Colonel Lambert, and 
others, was Colonel Lile, (stil’d by the disaffected Party Lord Lile ) one of 
Cromwel’s great Favourites; a grand Villain, and a most zealous Stickler 
for the old Cause. This Man made his escape out of England, went into 
Holland, several parts of Germany, Switzerland, and at last to Geneva, 
where he was making his Preperations of Men and Money, in order to 
revive the Fanatick Party, and dethrone King Charles, not doubting but 
he shou’d find many Friends to join him when he shou’d return into 
England ; whereupon the King issued out his Proclamation, with a Reward 
for whosoever wou’d bring back, or otherwise suppress the said Lile. 
James Cotter, a Lieutenant of Foot, offer’d to venture his Life in indeavour- 
ing to satisfy his Majesty therein; and pitch’d upon Miles Crowly, with 
John Rierdan, to be his Associates, both Irish Gentlemen; but in so 
low a Condition at that Time (having spent all their Estates by following 
the King in his Exile) that after his Restoration they were forc’d to inlist 
themselves in the Foot Guards: These Cotter knew to be stout and 
resolute Men, who were ready to lay down their lives for their Prince’s 
Service. They went to Geneva (having secur’d Posthorses at all Stages on 
the Road, from the Frontiers of France to that City) and cast Lots to see 
whose Fate it shou’d be to do the Fact; it being on Sunday 37 Morning, 
they concluded it the fittest opportunity to do it, as he went to Church; 
that Crowly (to whose Lot it fell) shou’d on Horseback (as if he was a 
Courier just come to Town) deliver him a Packet with a broad Seal on it 

' M ibid. p. 235. 

35 4 thenae Oxoniensis iii. p. 666. 

30 There is a copy in TCD Library, Cat. No. V FF 57, No. 7. For the Lisle 
affair see pp. 1 1 1-5. 

37 It was in fact a Thursday. 




as it were from the King with some favourable Proposals, and Shoot him 
at the same time as he shou’d be busie in opening it; that Cotter shou’d 
stand at the Church-yard gate in order to kill the first that shou’d Face 
about after him; and that Rierdan shou’d be ready at the first Turning 
to do the same to the most forward that shou’d pursue them. Lile being 
kill’d in the midst of his astonish’d Guards, those that attempted to 
revenge his Death, fell by the Blunderbusses and Pistols of Crowly’s 
resolute Companions, the foremost in the Flight always stopping by turns 
at every Corner, until the other two were past him; and thus maintaining 
a running Fight (wherein many were kill’d) they got clear out of the City 
Gates, came safe into the French Territories, (which were not above four 
or five Leagues distant) and thence into England.’ 

This account differs from Ludlow’s in certain details, although they 
agree in making O Crowley the actual assassin. Ludlow does not mention 
that any guards accompanying Lisle were killed. 

Two traditional accounts of the affair recorded in the Cotter MS. 
are worth mention here. The first is from a Mrs. Hickey of Ballysplaine 
who was aged 80 in 184 1. 38 According to her ‘Sir James went with his 
servant Moylan to Geneva in search of Mr. Lysle the Regicide, and shot 
him in his chair or carriage when going to Church and whilst he was 
handing to him a letter, the pistol having been so contrived as not to give 
a loud report.’ Mrs. Hickey describes how Cotter escaped on his horse 
which had been held by his servant. ‘They both set off on horseback. 
After a short time Sir James desired Moylan to look back and see if they 
were pursued. He answered “Yes, and a bay horse takes the lead.” “That 
won't do,” said Sir James, “such a horse will not overtake us.” Soon 
afterwards he desired him to look back again, when he cried out “A 
chestnut horse takes the lead in hard pursuit of us.” “That will not 
succeed either”, said Sir James. Twice more being desired to look back, 
he declared that he saw black and grey horses taking the lead and in 
pursuit. Sir James answered as before. Having been asked the fifth time 
to look back, Moylan answered that a liver-coloured horse was approach- 
ing at great speed. “That horse”, said Sir James, “will overtake us”, and 
he then told his servant to stop at a comer of the road and to cut off 
the pursuer’s head, which Moylan not wishing to do, he, unperceived, 
took his station there himself, and when the horse came up, he cut off its 
rider’s head with his sword. The horse went on, and Sir James by its side 
on his. The body remained in the saddle for about half a mile, when 
Sir James removed it with his foot, and it fell to the ground. Sir James 
then got upon that horse and his own followed. He came to a draw-bridge 
which was up. He dashed onto the river and swam across, his own horse 
following. He came to a ferry. He crossed in the boat, and killed the 
boatman lest he should tell that he had crossed, and also to cut off this 
mode of pursuit. Moylan had previously passed over, and gave out that 

a8 Cotter MS., pp. 12-3. 


he had killed Lisle and that Cotter had fallen into the hands of his 
pursuers. Sir James soon after made his appearance and told the facts 
of the case. He was amply rewarded by King Charles the Second.’ 

All this looks like an echo of Sir Florence O Donoughue’s story of 
the running fight, but highly-coloured under the influence of folk-tale 
motifs. 39 

The second oral account is by a John Connell of Peafield in the 
Parish of Templebodane. According to him ‘Florence Crowley 
accompanied Sir James abroad to kill Lisle and Sir James shot him, 
Crowley holding a horse for his escape.’ 40 Again we have the remarkable 
tenacity of folk-memory in retaining the name of Cotter’s collaborator, 
Crowley. We may note that in both these versions Cotter is named as the 
one who fired the shot. 

I think we are fully justified in concluding from all the foregoing 
accounts that Cotter was, indeed, the organiser of the action against 
Ludlow and Lisle, and that even if he did not actually shoot the latter, 
he was present as director of operations. 

Before I turn to the question of his reward, I must say a word in 
justification of his action. Naturally Ludlow and his supporters condemned 
it as murder, and this view of it seems to have been common enough ever 
since, even among those who had no particular sympathy for the regicides. 
I can suggest two factors as being likely to have influenced public opinion 
thus. The first is the subsequent downfall of the House of Stuart and the 
ascendancy of the Protestant faction — heirs to some extent of the 
Republican Puritans. The second factor is that ‘operation Lisle’, as I 
might call it, was an Irish affair, carried out by men some or all of whom 
were Catholics. I feel sure that if it were the work of Protestant English 
supporters of Charles II, these would have been hailed as heroes and few 
questions would have been raised about the legality or morality of their 

The author of ‘A New Journey to France’ discusses the morality of 
the killing. He says ‘I made bold (tho’ I must own it was not Civil) to 
make some Objections against the abovemention’d Fact, which (tho’ very 
Brave) I did not think becoming so good a Prince to Command, nor a 
Christian Subject to Execute; that it seem’d to me no better than the 
Assassination of a Person in cold Blood, and that it was a dangerous 
Example for Princes to shew, least it shou’d happen to be retorted upon 
themselves in Time; to which he answer’d’ pleasantly, That Princes ought 
to look to the legality themselves; That he must own, it would be an ill 
Precedent for Princes to set in regard to one another; That he was no 
Casuist, but as a Soldier, he cou’d never think it Base, for a faithful 
Subject to venture his Life in defence of the sacred Person of his King 

39 Eg. pursued kills pursuer, and 'takes his horse — R. 233 in Stith Thomson. 
Motif-Index of Folk Literature ; bridge demolished to prevent pursuit — R 235. 

40 Cotter MS., p. 13. 




and the Royal Family against a profligate Rebel, who was already a 
dead man by the Laws of his Country.’ 41 

Domhnall O Colmain, the author of Parliament na mBan expressed 
himself very clearly on this point when he said: 

nf ceart d’einneach a radh na a mheas gur murther na mfghmomh 
traotuir fogartha do mharbhadh le hordughadh speisialta an riogh, 
acht fos is inmheasta gur gnfomh e comh oirdhearc ionnas, dar liomsa 
agus dar le heolchaibh eile, go madh chora a leitheid do ghm'omh do 
chur i gcroinicibh i leitribh oir chum go gcluinfeadh gach geinealach 
diaidh i ndiaidh fuil riogh no prionnsa do tharrang nach deachaidh 
saor d’einneach riamh gan troimdhioghaltas.’ (11 58-65). 

‘it is not right for anyone to say or think that it is murder or a 
misdemeanour to kill a proclaimed traitor with a special order from 
the King; indeed, it may be considered to be so noble a deed that in 
my opinion and in that of other authorities it were more fitting that 
such a deed be chronicled in letters of gold, so that each succeeding 
generation might hear that the shedding of the blood of a king or of 
a prince never went without dire vengeance.’ 

This is obviously an answer to the opposite view which was probably 
gaining support in the reign of William III, and which is reflected in the 
contemptuous remark attributed somewhat later to Col. Southwell who 
said of Cotter’s son ‘This is the son of Sir James Cotter, Famous for 
nothing but killing the Great Lord Lysle!’ 42 Typical of the later English 
attitude to the affair is the comment of Lord Macaulay who, extolling the 
regicides and censuring those who sought to avenge the King’s death, 
wrote ‘But even in Switzerland the regicides were not safe. A large price 
was set on their heads, and a succession of Irish adventurers, inflamed 
by national and religious animosity, attempted to earn the bribe. Lisle 
fell by the hand of one of these assassins.’ 43 

Let us see how Cotter was rewarded. Ludlow deliberately put out 
the story that ‘those who Murder’d Mr. Lisle', as he called them, were 
treated shabbily; ‘that one of them died not long after he had committed 
that Villany; in extreme want, at a mean Lodging in Westminster, And 
the other, tho’ advanced to be a Captain in France, complain’d of the 
Ingratitude of those who employ’d them, protesting they had never 
receiv’d any other reward than Three Hundred Pistoles from the Dutchess 

41 op. cit., p. 115. 

42 A Long History of a certain session of a Certain Parliament in a Certain 
Kingdom (publ. 1714), pp. 36-7. This pamphlet has been attributed by Halkett and 
Laing (Vol. Ill, p. 391) to Richard Helsham, M.D. and Dr. Patrick Delany. That 
the authors did not support Southwell’s view is clear from their comment The 
Reader will please to Observe, that this Great Lord Lysle, was famous for nothing, 
but being a Rebel and a Regicide; and yet ’tis made an Aggravation of Cotter’s 
suppos'd Crime, that he was the Son of him that slew the Traytor’. 

‘‘■’’History of England (1858 ed.), iii, p. 506. As both Lisle and Ludlow had been 
actively engaged in the Cromwellian wars and administration in Ireland, and 
especially in Munster, we can understand that Irishmen might be moved by animosity 
towards them. 


of Orleans, of which Two Hundred had been spent in laying the Design, 
and waiting an occasion of putting it in Execution.’ 44 But it is clear from 
the way in which Ludlow tells this that he did so not because he believed 
it to be true, but rather to deter others from attempting to assassinate 
himself. We must look to more reliable sources for the true version. 

I have already quoted 6 Bruadair as saying that Cotter got a knight- 
hood and land. 6 Colmain says: 

Do bhi Ri Saxon comh buidheach sin don tseirbhis agus don tf noch 
do-rinne f, go dtug se do mar phrimhleid bheith ‘na chaptaoin ina 
gharda fein, agus pinnse mor bliadhantamhail farais sin; agus ina 
dhiaidh sin tug dho bheith ‘na ghabhairnefr ar na hoileanaibh; agus 
an uair ba mhithid le Seamus teacht tar ais da dhuthaigh, do rinne 
collector geinearalta ar chios an riogh san taobh so do Choige 
Mumhan de (11. 66-73). 

‘The King of England was so satisfied with the service and with him 
who rendered it that he gave him the privilege of being a captain in 
his own guard and a large annual pension along with that and later 
appointed him to be governor of the islands; and when James thought 
it time for him to return to his own land he made him collector- 
general of the king’s revenue in this part of the Province of 
Munster.’ 45 

The author of A blew Journey to France 46 gives less particulars, but 
on the other hand he mentions the other conspirators as well as Cotter: 

‘ Cotter , besides the promis’d Reward, had a Colonel’s Commission, 
was afterwards Knighted, and serv’d the late King James in Ireland, being 
Brigadier General of the Province of Munster. . . . Crowly and Rierdan, 
being Roman Catholics, cou’d bear no imployment in the Government 
but obtain’d recommendations to the King of France, who made them 
both Captains. The latter was kill’d in ... The Passage of the Rhine ; 
the other behav’d himself so well at the Bottles of Montcassel and St. 
Omer, under the late Duke of Orleans (whose Life he sav’d by his 
Bravery) that King Charles confer’d the Honour of Knighthood on him, 
and the King of France the Title of Count, making him at the same time. 
Commander of his Brigade of Scotch Gens d’Armes. He married the Lady 
Ann Gordon, Sister to the Duke of that Name.’ 

I have not followed up O Crowley’s career, 47 but confirmation of the 
latter part of the above account is to be seen in French naturalisation 
papers dated 7 September, 1694 for ‘Michel O Cruoly, chevalier, seigneur 

44 Ludlow, Memoirs iii, p. 212. 

45 0 Colmain is, I think, slightly inaccurate here. The appointment to which he 
refers was made not by Charles II but by James II. See p. 155. 

i6 op. cit., pp. 114-5. 

47 Though he is described as having been knighted by Charles II, his name is 
not given in Shaw, The Knights of England. 



de Kilhalovig 48 et Sienovak, brigadier des armees du roi, natif d’lrlande, 
et Anne Victoire de Gourdon, sa femme, native d’Ecosse. 49 

As to Riordan, there are two further items in the State Papers which 
may be connected with him. The first is a pass dated May 9, 1665 granted 
to Mr. Riordan to go to France ‘with four horses, custom free’. 50 The 
second is a petition for employment made (possibly in September 1665) 
by a Lieut. Derby Riordan. It is calendared thus ‘Served during the 
King’s travels abroad; was enlisted into the Foot Guards as a reformed 
officer, but is now reduced to insupportable misery, by the loss of Lord 
Muskerry’. 51 The first part of this, with the exception of the Christian 
name, tallies with the account given above (p. 141). The mention of Lord 
Muskerry is suggestive, for Charles MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry, had 
been in exile with the King, and it is not unlikely that other Corkmen 
were in the same company. This might explain how Cotter came to be 
in the King’s service in the first instance. This scrap of information may 
also be the key to another phase in Cotter’s career which will be dealt 
with later (p. 154). Finally, if Derby Riordan was indeed the Riordan who 
took part in the Lisle affair, there would be a plausible explanation for 
Ludlow’s statement that the true name of ‘Riardo’ was ‘Mac Carty’, for 
Ludlow might have misunderstood some intelligence conveyed to him 
about Riordan such as, for instance, that he was a Mac Carthy Riordan, 
meaning a follower or dependent of Lord Muskerry. 52 One of the oral 
accounts in the Cotter MS. 53 has a tradition worth mentioning. According 
to it ‘the Queen (Charles the First’s widow) gave Cotter on his coming 
to England her husband’s bed and bridle and saddle as a mark of her 
royal favour and thanks’. It says that Sir James later gave the bridle 
and saddle to Lord Barrymore. There is a slight possibility that this may 
not be completely unfounded. We have Ludlow’s word for it that the 
Queen Mother was ‘our particular Enemy, and had constantly favour’d 
the Designs that had been carry’d on against our Lives’. 54 In an inventory 
of furniture, etc., in Ballinsperrig at the time of Sir James Cotter’s death 
is a record of a ‘Velvet Bed and hangings with gold brocade’. The com- 
piler of the Cotter MS. 55 suggests that as there was a tradition that King 
James slept at Ballinsperrig, this may have been the bed in which he lay. 

48 It seems clear that O Crowley was a member of the Coill Shealbhaigh branch 
of the family, for whom see J. C. Collins’s article ‘The O’Crowleys of Coill tSeal- 
bhaigh' in JCHAS lvi-lviii. 

49 Archives de France, P 2699, f° 87v°. 

™Cal. SP Dorn., 1664-5, p. 357. 

51 ibid., p. 579. 

52 Prof. R. Dudley-Edwards has drawn my attention to a work entitled Histoire 
des troubles de Grande Bretagne by R. Menteth (de Salmonet), to the second edition 
of which, published in Paris in 1661, an appendix on the reasons for the Restoration 
was contributed by a D. O’Riordan of Muskry. The appendix throws no light on 
the career of its author, but it is perhaps worth noting that both it and the Riordan 
reports in the State Papers are written in French. 

53 p. 13. 

54 Ludlow, Memoirs iii, p. 225. 

55 p. 60. 


But I think it much more attractive to think of it as a possible souvenir 
of Charles the First. Incidentally the bed was later lost in a fire at the 
Barrymore seat in Castlelyons. 

We must return to the more serious matter of Cotter’s career after 
his successful mission. Among the Domestic State Papers for the years 
1664 and 1665 I have found three petitions from James Cotter. In one of 
them he is petitioning jointly with a Thomas MacDonnell and they say: 

‘in consideration of acceptable service done by your petitioners, your 
Majesty was graciously pleased to declare that your Majesty would take 
care of your petitioners and conferr some imployment upon them for 
their support and livelyhood, whereupon your petitioners have hitherto 
dayly wayted upon your Majesty’s gracious promise. Now forasmuch as 
your petitioners fortunes wholly depend upon your Majesty’s princely 
bounty and favour, they humbly pray your sacred Majesty to be graciously 
pleased to extend your royal goodness towards them and to conferr some- 
thing upon your petitioners as well for their future subsistence as present 
maintenance as to your Majesty shall seem meet, that soe they may be 
rendered capable of further serving and manifesting their loyalty to your 
Majesty.’ 56 

So much for the account in the D.N.B. which would have us believe 
that Cotter and MacDonnell were one and the same person. 

In the next petition Cotter calls himself ‘Captain James Cotter’, and 
he says that he has been put in hopes of the first company that should 
be vacant, but that he has so far failed to get preferment, and as he is no 
longer able to subsist unless his Majesty be pleased to order something 
for his present maintenance, he asks for some allowance by the month 
until he be granted an employment. 57 The third petition 58 is phrased some- 
what similarly. 

There are also two separate petitions on behalf of Thomas 
MacDonnell. 59 The first is particularly interesting, for it speaks of ‘some 
acceptable service done by your petitioner and others in relation to that 
bloody Regicide and Traitor Lisle’. MacDonnell’s petitions were at last 
heeded and he was appointed a Lieutenant in the Regiment of Guards 
in May, 1665. 60 

Cotter’s patience was likewise rewarded in due course, 61 for on July 
5, 1666, he was given a commission in the company of foot of the Holland 
Regiment under Colonel Sydney. 62 However, he was incorporated in a 

56SP Dorn., Char. II, vol. 142, no. 51 = Cal. SP Dom., 1665-6, p. 143. 

57 SP Dom., Char. II, vol. 142, no. 52 = Cal. SP Dom., 1665-6, p. 143. 

53 SP Dom., Char. II, vol. 142, no. 53 = Cal. SP Dom., 1665-6, p. 143. 

59 SP Dom., Char. II, vol. 89, no. 43 = Cal. SP Dom., 1663-4, p. 419, and SP 

Dom., Char. II, vol. 120, no. 62 = Cal. SP Dom., 1664-5, p. 349. 

60 Cal. SP Dom., 1664-5, p. 349, Dalton, English Army Lists and Commission 
Registers 1661-1714, i, p. 52. 

61 For a suggestion as to how Cotter may have been occupied in the meantime 
see infra p. 154. 

62 Cal. SP Dom., 1665-6, p. 499. 



new-raised regiment sent to the West Indies, and in the following year he 
was in command of 700 men in an attack on St. Christopher’s where he 
was captured and imprisoned for eight months by the French. He was not 
the only Irish officer in the West Indies, for there is an account by an 
Englishman, a Major Scott, who complained of a dispute between the 
English and Irish officers in the St. Christopher engagement, and said 
that the Irish officers ‘after some slight wounds’ were taken by the French, 
while the Irish soldiers surrendered. 63 Scott later complained of ‘Captain 
Cotter’s great familiarity with the French Governor’, but Cotter countered 
this by complaining of Scott’s ill deportment in the engagement. 64 Again 
Scott came forward with ‘a very strange account of Lieut. -Col. Stapleton 
and Capt. Cottar and 70 Irish’. 65 His story seems to have done neither 
Stapleton nor Cotter any harm, for the former became Governor of the 
Leeward Islands and was knighted, and Cotter, as we shall see, kept on 
bettering himself. The connection between the two Irishmen became a 
relationship twelve years later when Cotter married Stapleton’s daughter 

In May of 1668 Cotter returned to England as bearer of a letter from 
Sir Tobias Bridge of Barbadoes to Sec. Lord Arlington, 66 and he attended 
as an emissary to King Charles II on behalf of Bridge and his regiment. 67 
In August of that year he was mentioned in an ‘Order of the King in 
Council’ as reporting on clothes for Sir Tobias Bridge’s regiment in 
Barbadoes, 68 and in September a pay-warrant was issued out for £30 each 
for James Cotter and three other officers ‘to be deducted out of the moneys 
next assigned for their pay as officers in Sir Tobias Bridge’s regiment in 
Barbadoes’. 69 Cotter seems to have found financial matters a problem, for 
he appears again in the Domestic State Papers for 1669 and 1670 petition- 
ing for speedy relief, and asking for payment of his arrears for two and a 
half years, saying that he has received nothing since his appointment to the 
Holland Regiment, and that he is worse off than if he had stayed at home 
and lost his employment. 70 Two further petitions for relief were made by 
him about the same time. 71 Although Cotter was still in England in October 
1671 when Sir Tobias Bridge returned from Barbadoes, 72 his name appears 
in Barbadoes regimental lists dated September 1671 and March 1672. 73 In 
the latter he is first in a list of nine captains in the Barbadoes Regiment of 
Dragoons which had Prince Rupert as its Colonel. By November 1673 he 

6S Cal. SP Col., America and West Indies, 1661-8, p. 480. 

M ibid„ p. 482. 

&5 ibid„ p. 483. 

Mibid., p. 572. 

e7 ibid., p. 573. 

e ’ 3 ibid., p. 604. 

69 ibid„ p. 612. 

™Cfl/. SP Dorn., 1670, p. 736. 

7l ibid„ p. 615. 

7 -Cal. SP Col., America and West Indies, 1669-74, p. 264. 

73 ibid., pp. 259, 344; Dalton, English Army Lists and Commission Registers 
1661-1714 i, pp. 115, 119. 


had given up his position as captain in the regiment and a commission was 
given to Sir John Ernie to replace him. 74 

In the meantime Cotter had petitioned the King ‘in consideration of 
his long service and late losses in his Majesty’s service’ for a patent for 
twenty-one years of the places of Secretary and Marshall of Nevis, St. 
Christopher, Montserrat and Antigua. 75 The petition was eventually con- 
sidered favourably, but for some reason the patent was first granted to 
another member of the Cotter family. In February, 1676 the offices 
requested were granted to ‘Garrett Cotter 76 of St. Martin’s in the Fields, 
for the lives of Capt. James Cotter, James Cotter, his nephew, and George 
Burgesse of the Inner Temple, and the life of the survivor of them’. 77 We 
see from a number of State Papers 78 that Garrett Cotter executed the office 
for some time, but that James Cotter was the principal beneficiary is clear 
from a subsequent report made to the Lords of Trade and Plantations in 
1680 by Sir William Stapleton who, referring to the offices of Secretary and 
Marshall in the Leeward Islands, says ‘both of which are granted to [s/c] 
the King for three lives to Captain James Cotter, and are by him let out at 
annual rent to two persons in each Island.’ 79 These offices must have been 
of considerable financial worth to Cotter. 

Cotter must have been free from ordinary army service by 1676, and 
he was able to interest himself once more in espionage. In August of that 
year a pass was issued to him under Charles II’s hand to permit him with 
his servants, goods and so on, to pass beyond the seas and return, and 
expressing the wish that he should be given any help he might require. 80 
About the same time he wrote to Sir Joseph Williamson, Secretary of 
State about some mission which he had on hands. He says : 

‘I know not but I may light of som bodie in Paris fit for my purpose 
to carrie along with me. When I am at Lyons I must imploy som people. 
Those I must trust and reward well or else I may loose my bussnesse and 
myselfe to boote. If I can not effectually compasse my bussnesse this way 
I shall be forced to buy good horses and goe up into Savoy and com backe 
thorough that country. All this consider’d I thinke the least that can be 
given me at present is £100 here and a bill for two more at Lions. If I 
should want there it would be the loss of what I goe about and of money 

74 Cal . SP Dorn., 1673-5, p. 17. 

75 Ca/. SP Col., America and West Indies, 1669-74, p. 457. 

76According to the Cotter MS. (p. 49) Garrett Cotter (who was James’s elder 
brother) held the appointment in trust for James ‘which trust was declared the 25th of 
March following'. 

nCal. SP Dorn., 1675-6, p. 572. 

78 Cal. SP Col.. America and West Indies, 1677-80, pp. 170. 200-1. According 
to these the King had by letters patent of 9th March 1677 appointed Garrett Cotter 
Secretary and Marshall of the islands mentioned already ‘with all fees, salaries and 
profits thereto belonging’. 

79 ibid., p. 559. 

so Cal. SP Dorn., 1676-7, p. 287. 



too. I’ll assure you I will serve his Majestie in it with as little charges and 
as effectuall as possible I can.’ 81 

We can guess what his business was — no less than to get a report on 
the great General Ludlow himself, perhaps even to kill him. The following 
February (1677) he submitted a report in which he said: 

‘Ludlow call’d the General lives constantly at Vevay in one Jean 
Heunt or Heurt Binet’s howse, a marchant. What letters comes to him 
are enclosed to the said Binet. There are two more that lodges and boards 
with him in the same howse, one goes by the name of le Capitaine 
Anglois, th’other le petit Anglois. About three or fowre years agoe 
another that was in great esteeme with them died in Germanie either 
goeinge to or cominge from England. Ludlow was the same time or 
somewhat before absent about halfe or three quarters of a yeare, but I 
could not learne where, but I am sure ever since neither he nor any of the 
other two has not been further than Beame, Geneva or Lyons. What 
supplies they have out of England comes altogether to Ludlow, and as 
they say upon his wife’s account who not long agoe had been in England. 
The canton of Beam for certain allows them pensions, and it is to be 
supposed those of Geneva does no less.’ 82 

We can understand Charles II’s anxiety to know what Ludlow was 
up to, for the latter was constantly hoping for an opportunity to return 
to England and overthrow the Stuart rule. I have no more evidence to 
connect Cotter with him further, and Ludlow lived on till the accession of 
William III when he returned to England believing that he would be 
unmolested. He was not long there when he heard that his arrest was 
imminent and he fled again to Vevay where he died in 1692. By a 
peculiar twist of fate James Cotter’s grandson married in 1746 General 
Ludlow’s great-grand-niece. 83 

I do not know exactly how Cotter was occupied in the four years 
after 1677, except that he married Sir William Stapleton’s daughter about 
1679 84 and lived for some time in Middlesex, England. 85 He certainly 
returned to the Leeward Islands and he was Deputy-Governor of 
Montserrat and Judge of the Sessions in July 1680 when he had attained 
the rank of Colonel. 86 He is referred to as Governor of Montserrat in a 
document dated April, 1681. 87 The following September, having ten 

81 ibid., p. 286. 

8 2 ibid„ p. 577. 

83 Cotter MS. pp. 205, 210. His wife was Arabella Rogerson, dr. of the late Sir 
John Rogerson and of Elizabeth, dr. of Stephen Ludlow who was a nephew of 
General Ludlow. 

84 Cotter MS., p. 43. 

S5 ibid„ pp. 49, 52. 

S6 Cal. SP Col., America and West Indies, 1677-80, p. 562. Another document of 
this period (op. cit., pp. 574-5) is signed by J. Cotter among others. It is from the 
Council of Montserrat to the Lords of Trade and Plantations and describes the de- 
velopment of the island. In it is the statement ‘Our ecclesiastical affairs are to the 
best of our endeavour agreeable to the canons and constitutions of the Church of 

S7 Cal. SP Col., America and West Indies, 1681-5, p. 30. 


months furlough, he returned to England bringing a number of official 
papers from Sir William Stapleton to the Lords of Trade and Plantations. 88 
These included the ‘Acts’ of the four islands. I do not think that he ever 
returned to Montserrat, but it is clear from later documents 89 that he 
continued to enjoy the benefits of his office until the accession of William 
III as King of England. 90 

On his return to England Cotter once more successfully petitioned 
the King as we see from a document dated November 17, 1681 at White- 
hall, in which King Charles, being graciously inclined to gratify the 
petitioner in his request, referred to the Right Hon. the Lords Commis- 
sioners of the Treasury the petition of Colonel James Cotter in which the 
latter prayed ‘his Majesty to settle upon him a pension of £200 per annum 
given him for his services, upon the Revenue of Ireland.’ 91 There was some 
delay in granting this request, and Cotter renewed his petition. On August 
12, 1682, at Windsor the King referred to the Lord Lieutenant Cotter’s 
petition which asked that ‘having a pension of £200 per annum payable 
in England, his Majesty would grant it him out of the revenue of Ireland 
during his life and order it to be inserted in the present and future estab- 
lishments. 92 Here is confirmation of the Parliament na mBan statement 
that Cotter had got a large annual pension from the King. 

I cannot say when Cotter first returned to Ireland. The Cotter MS. 
says that in May 1675 he purchased from his stepmother and her children 
the interest which they possessed in Ballinsperrig, 93 and that in the follow- 
ing year Edmond Cotter, his brother, conveyed to him by deed his interest 
in the Ballinsperrig holding. 94 We may suppose that at that time James 
was living in England. In May of 1680 Lord Barrymore let to him the 
mansion, offices, gardens, etc., of Ballinsperrig. 95 It is likely that by 1682 
Cotter was back in Cork, settling down to enjoy the fruits of his 
adventurous career on his final return from the West Indies. 

From the Cotter MS. we get the interesting information that on 
September 24, 1683 James Cotter was admitted and sworn as a freeman 
of the City of Cork. 96 Earlier in that year he had purchased for £2,782 

88 ibid., pp. 95-6, 117. See also C. S. S. Higham, The Development of the Lee- 
ward Islands under the Restoration, 1660-1688. 

®>Cal. SP Col., America and West Indies, 1685-8, pp. 470. 485. It is worth not- 
ing that in both these documents (dated 1687) Cotter is referred to as Sir James. 
Apparently as late as 1688 Cotter had the right to appoint officers to the posts of 
secretary and marshall (op. cit„ p. 485). 

90 A petition by a Roger Williams for the execution of the naval office in Antigua, 
Nevis, Montserrat and St. Christopher, dated January 1, 1690 says that the office 
was last executed by ‘Sir James Cotter, a papist now in arms against the King (Cal. 
SP Dorn., 1689-90. p. 389.). We may suppose that under King William III Cotter 
was deprived of this privilege which he had held for so many years. 

91 SP Dorn., Entry Books (SP 44), Vol. 55, p. 148 = Cal. SP Dom., 1680-1, p. 


92 C«/. SP Dom., 1682, p. 334. 

"Cotter MS., p. 53. 

9i ibid„ p. 54. 

95 ibid., p. 53. 

"Cotter MS., p. 50. 



Ballymagooly and other lands in North Cork and he had been let a 
property at Rahan in the same area. 97 It was in Rahan that Rockforest, 
the family seat of later generations of Cotters was. Cotter was clearly 
determined that his title to these several lands would be good, for in 
December 1683 he was once more petitioning the King ‘praying his 
Majesty Letters Patents to him of the Castle and Lands of Ballymaguly, 
Knockbrack, Kilrahan, Minoe, Ballinigroe, Rahan and Gortneskehy in 
Ireland under such Crowne Rents as his Majesty shall think fit.’ 98 Once 
more his Majesty was graciously disposed to gratify the petitioner in his 
humble request, and by a Commission of Grace dated January 1684 
Cotter was adjudged and decreed certain lands including Ballinsperrig and 
Cotterborough alias Ballymagooly. 99 

Being an extensive landowner Colonel Cotter might be considered 
a suitable person to be a J.P., and sure enough among the State Papers 
for 1684 we find reference to a statement being sworn in his presence on 
March 3. The occasion is interesting, for it had to do with a suspected 
plot against the King. As ever Cotter is solicitous for the Royal welfare, 
although he comments: ‘the persons named to manage this great villainy 
are half a dozen men of the barony of Carbery, which to me seems to 
make the whole but a malicious sham. However, none knows how far the 
Devil may push on disaffected persons.’ 100 

Possibly the last act of benevolence on the part of a grateful monarch 
towards a loyal and devoted subject was the granting by Charles II in the 
last year of his reign of a market and two fairs together with a Court of 
Piepowder for the manor of Cotterborough. 101 That was in 1685 and in the 
same year, according to the Cotter MS., 102 James Cotter bought from Lord 
Barrymore the Barrymore Castlelyons estate of 272 ploughlands for the 
sum of £2,400, 

It might be thought that with the death of Charles II, Cotter’s power 
and influence would gradually become less, but the opposite is the case. 
Again we may turn to Parliament na mBan which says: 

‘mar is gnathach leis an tf ar a mbf an sonas ar maidin go mbia se 
urn thrath nona air, feachamaois ar an gcion do bhf ag Rf Seamas 
air tar eis bheith farais fein i seacht gcathaibh i gcogadh na fairrge, 
agus tar eis bheith i mbualadh Diuic Monmouth farais, mar ar 
iomchair Seamas e fein comh galanta sin go ndearna an Rf fein 
riodaire dhe. Is e an nf ceadna thug dho bheith ’na ghabhairneir ar 
Chathair Chorcaighe, agus ina dhiaidh sin tug dho bheith ’na 
bhrigidier agus ’na chommander arna gairisiunaibh foirmleacha go 
huile.’ (11. 73-82). 

®~ibid„ p. 56. 

"SP Dorn.? Entry Books (SP 44), Vol. 55, p. 302 = Cal. SP Dorn., Oct., 1683- 
April, 1684, p. 133. 

"Con;//;. Grace {Ireland). Charles II, p. 18; also Cotter MS., p. 53. 

1 "Cn/. SP Dorn., Oct.. 1683- April, 1684. pp. 306-7. 
lo:l Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, ii, p. 480. 

102 p. 54. 


‘as it is usual for him who is fortunate in the morning to be so also at 
eventide, let us consider the regard which King James had for him 
after he had been along with him in seven battles in the naval 
campaign, and after he had been with him in the defeat of the Duke 
of Monmouth, where James bore himself so gallantly that the King 
himself knighted him. And it was the same fact which caused him to 
be made Governor of the City of Cork and later to be Brigadier and 
Commander of all the outlying garrisons.’ 

I have not succeeded in getting any direct confirmation of the 
statement that Cotter served under James II when Duke of York or 
that he was present on the occasion of the defeat of Monmouth which 
took place in July, 1685. Yet considering how trustworthy this particular 
source can be proved otherwise to be, I am inclined to accept it as fairly 
accurate here. It must be remembered that the author, 6 Colmain, 
probably heard all the details of his career from Cotter himself, and that 
he incorporated them in this contemporary document. 

Certainly there is some evidence which seems to link Cotter with 
the Duke of York as early as 1672. It is connected with the ‘Bill for 
preventing dangers which may happen from Popish recusants’ which was 
taken before the House of Lords on March 18, 1672. The Duke of York 
proposed that certain persons be exempted from the provisions of the bill. 
The contemporary record states ‘His Royal Highness, the Duke of Yorke, 
offers a proviso for some particular persons Mervin Tutchett and others 
which is read and the Duke showes what service every one of them hath 
done.’ In two annexes to the bill ‘Captaine Cotter’ is named in a list of 
persons ‘who have either eminently testified their respective loyaltyes to 
his Majestye before and since his restoration or to our late soveraigne 
King Charles the first of Glorious memory, dureing the late tymes of 
rebellion and usurpation’. 103 Unfortunately there no longer exists any 
record in the House of Lords archives of what service Cotter did to merit 
his inclusion in this proviso. However it is almost certainly our James 
Cotter who is in question, and it seems likely that it was primarily his 
part in the Lisle affair which was being recalled. It is possible that the 
record of his service would have shown how the Duke of York came to 
be sponsoring him on this occasion. 

Again I must adduce a piece of oral tradition from the Cotter MS. 
It was recorded from a David Howard who was born in 1746, and whose 
father and grandfather had both been in the service of Sir James Cotter. 
The grandfather, who was 96 when he died, was house and land steward 
to Sir James and was much in his favour and confidence and used often 
to sit at his bedside when he was an old man, until Cotter had fallen 
asleep. According to Howard Sir James had been with King James at 
sea and even in the same ship. The King was so familiar with him as to 

W3 Hist. MSS. Comm.. Appendix to Ninth Report, pp. 29-30. 



call him ‘Shaymus Bwee’. 104 It is clear that this tradition is in agreement 
with the Parliament na mBan account. 

If we relate the known dates in Cotter’s career to the dates of the 
Duke of York’s service at sea, we will reasonably conclude that the most 
likely period at which Cotter could have served with the Duke was in the 
relatively short time between his return to England after the successful 
Lisle ‘operation’ of August, 1664, and his commission in the Holland 
Regiment in July, 1666. Both Parliament na mBan and the traditional 
accounts in the Cotter MS. refer to Cotter’s being with King James in a 
naval war. This can only refer to the war with Holland which began in 
March 1665 and in which the Duke of York was very active in the naval 

We have already seen a possible connection between O’Riordan of 
the Lisle affair and Viscount Muskerry 105 who had served the King in 
exile. After the Restoration Muskerry served in the navy, took part in the 
warfare of 1665 in company with the Duke of York, and was killed in 
action before Texel in June of that year. 106 Information about the action 
was sent by the Duke of York himself to Lord Arlington. It appears that 
the Duke was so near those killed ‘that his clothes were smeared with 
their blood’. 107 In view of the details already given it seems not improb- 
able that Cotter, while waiting for some recognition and favour from King 
Charles, had joined his fellow-irishmen in the navy and thus came into 
the company of the Duke of York. 108 

Cotter’s presence at the Battle of Sedgemoor is another matter. It 
might be thought that having settled down in Cork he would be unlikely 
to be called to active service in England. Yet in June 1685 a Lieut. Col. 
James Cotter was appointed a captain in Sir William Clifton’s Regiment 
of Foot. 109 Charles Dalton, who has edited the army lists of that period, 
has commented ‘Not identified with the officer of same name whose 
comns. frequently occur in Vol. I’. But it seems quite likely that this 
officer, who is recorded as being out of the regiment again in November 
1686, is indeed our James Cotter. However, in one detail, at least, the 
author of Parliament na mBan is incorrect if we are to take farais in ‘tar 
eis bheith i mbualadh Diuie Monmouth farais’ to mean literally ‘along 
with him’, for King James was not present at the battle. 

The statement about the knighting of Cotter after Sedgemoor is 
interesting for there is no direct evidence on the event. Cotter is not given 
in Shaw’s ‘The Knights of England’, yet he is constantly referred to later 

104 Cotter MS., p. 7. 

lOoSee p. 146. 

™Cal. SP Dom., 1664-5, p. 407. 

^7 ibid., p. 408. 

i08David Howard, already mentioned on p. 153, had a tradition that on one 
occasion the ship in which were both the Duke of York and James Cotter was set 
on fire by a bombshell which fell aboard and that they had to get into another 

10fl Dalton, English Army Lists and Commission Registers 1661-1714, ii, p. 36. 


on as ‘Sir James’ and is so addressed in official documents. In some notes 
on the Cotter family published in 1908 there is a statement that he was 
knighted immediately after the Battle of Worcester: ‘After knighting him 
Charles II took a ring off his own finger, containing a miniature of his 
father, King Charles I, set in diamonds, which he presented to Sir James 
Cotter. This ring came afterwards by descent to his great-grandson. 
Colonel George Sackville Cotter’. 110 I have found no corroboration of this 
story and it may well be that the battles of Worcester and Sedgemoor 
were confused at some stage in the handing down of the tradition. Actually 
the earliest reference I have found to Cotter as ‘Sir James’ is in a 
document preserved in the Bodleian Library in Oxford in which Sir James 
Cotter is named as sheriff for ‘Countie Corke for the ensueing yeare’. 111 
This document is dated October 6, 1686. 

If Sir James thought that he could settle down to an easy life of 
retirement at this stage he was sadly mistaken, for even before the out- 
break of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ in November 1688 he was active and 
in command of troops. In March 1688 he received an order from Lord 
Mountcashel to search for and seize arms and other goods. 112 In May 
he was in command of five companies quartered at Youghal. 113 Shortly 
after this, in August 1688, he is described as first sovereign of Middleton 
on its incorporation. 114 In November he was appointed Lieut. Col. of the 
Regiment of Donough, Earl of Clancarty. 115 Early in 1689 he was 

appointed Collector of Customs for the Port of Cork, in which post his 

brother John assisted him as Deputy-Collector. 116 On February 26 he was 
appointed commander of the Royal forces in the City, Fort and Liberties 
of Cork. 117 

On March 12th King James landed at Kinsale, and proceeded on the 
14th to Cork where he stayed six days. There is a tradition that he visited 
Ballinsperrig, the home of Sir James Cotter, and when we examine the 
route which he is supposed to have taken to Dublin we find that such a 
visit was quite possible, for he travelled by Lismore and Clonmel, and 

the most direct route from Cork to Lismore is by Carrigtwohill and 

Middleton and thence north to Dungourney, Tallow and Lismore. 

Cotter continued to be busily engaged in the following months. In 
May he was returned to the Irish Parliament as member for Cork City. 118 
On June 25 he received an order from James II to proceed to Wexford 

1 WJCHAS xiv, p. 3. 

W Analecta Hib. I, p. 38. 

112 Coxter MS., p. 73. This and other documents in the Cotter MS. were copied 
from original papers at Rockforest. 

113 Calendar of Orrery Papers, p. 338. 

114 Harris, Life of William III, p. xiv. 

115 Cotter MS., p. 73. 

ll6 ibid., p. 50; see also King, The State of the Protestants in Ireland under the 
Late King James’s Government, p. 329. 

117 Cotter MS., p. 74. 

118 ibid„ p. 50. 



to redress disorders there. 110 He is addressed as ‘our Trusty and well- 
beloved Sir James Cotter’. In June and July large grants of land in the 
Baronies of Barrymore, Imokilly and Kerricurrihy in Cork were made for 
his Majesty’s use for one year to Sir James. 120 In July he was appointed 
Head Ranger of Shannon Park in County Cork. 121 His duty was to ensure 
proper care of the deer, breeding mares etc. in the parkland. At the end 
of this month he was involved in the defeat of a Jacobite army at Lisnaskea, 
Co. Fermanagh. He was in command of ‘Clare’s Dragoons’, which were 
considered to be the flower of King James’s army, and he was sent into 
Ulster to form part of a force under the command of Lord Mountcashel 
with the object of reducing Enniskillen. Instead he was ambushed and 
routed at Lisnaskea on July 27. 122 

Again we find corroboration of some of the details given in Parliament 
na mBan, for on February 11, 1690, the appointment was made under the 
King’s own hand at Dublin Castle of ‘Sir James Cotter, Kt., for his 
loyalty, good conduct, care, etc. to be Governor of the City of Cork and 
of the Great Island near it.’ 123 On April 10 Cotter was appointed by King 
James to collect tax in Co. Cork 124 and in May he was in command of 
ten troops of dragoons numbering 500 men. 125 

The defeat of the Jacobite army at the Boyne in July sent the King 
hurrying south, and on July 4th an order was given under his hand at 
Court in Kinsale directing Sir James Cotter, Governor of Cork, to send 
the magazine left at Cork by Count Loisien to Kinsale for its defence. 126 
From now on Cotter was supporting a lost cause. 

In the Cotter MS. there are copies of many documents 127 dealing with 
Sir James’s part in the campaign of 1691, when he was particularly 
involved as Brigadier in command of all the Jacobite forces in Kerry, 
Cork and the frontiers of Limerick, this being later extended to include 
Tipperary. He was originally appointed on April 9th, 1691 to replace the 
Earl of Abercorne, 128 and the appointment was extended in the following 
month. 129 Doubtless this is the command referred to by O Colmain in the 
phrase ‘ ’na chommander ar na gairisiiinaibh foirmleacha go huile 
O Colmain also refers to battles at Kanturk and Glanworth in which 
hundreds of enemy infantry and horse were killed as a result of Cotter’s 

n9 ibid., p. 74. 

120 ibid., p. 75. 

!2i ibid., p. 51. 

122 D’Alton, Illustrations of King James’s Irish Army List, i, pp. 358-9; Ryan, The 
Life of William the Third, p. 179. 

12:i Cotter MS., pp. 50, 73. 

124 D'Alton, op. cit„ p. 35 (from Harris’s MSS., vol. 10, pp. 166, etc.). 

125 Somers, Historical Tracts, xi, p. 398, original in Thorpe, Pamphlets (N.Lib. 
Irelandl, xii. n. 15. 

12e Cotter MS., p. 76. 

127 Two further documents relevant to Cotter’s activities at this time are cited in 
Hist. MSS. Comm. Thirteenth Report, p. 333. They occur in a collection of letters 
intercepted by Williamite supporters. 

128 Cotter MS., p. 77. 

129 ibid., p. 78. 


prowess. On the other hand Smith and others give accounts of a defeat 
suffered by Cotter at Bottle Hill near Mallow on April 29th, 1691. 130 

An interesting exchange of letters took place between the Williamite 
Sir Richard Cox and Sir James in July 1691. Cox wrote to Cotter: 


Upon the score of our former acquaintance and the civility which 
you have used to our friends whilst you were governor here and 
since, I think myself obliged to let you know that I have both station 
and inclination to serve you. If it should happen that you throw 
yourself upon me without capitulation (for your party is certainly 
ruined and will every minute decay), you shall undoubtedly be used 
as a man of honor. But if you are of this opinion, bring off as many 
as you can and their arms, because your terms will be so much the 
better. This will seem odd if you dont apprehend the case desperate, 
but because I am sure ’tis so, therefore you have this friendly 

Cotter replied: 


Notwithstanding our former acquaintance it seems you do not 
know me. Whatever I might have done with sitting still, when laid 
aside for my civilities which for justice sake I distributed without 
distinction, I am now concerned, and will, I doubt not, be in a con- 
dition to return your kindness, for without railery your case is so 
desperate that you will soon have occasion for it, and be confident 
in anything that is just. 131 

Of course Cox was right. On September 25th Cotter received an 
order from de Tesse, the French Commander in Limerick, to hold a 
cessation of arms. 132 The negotiations for the Treaty of Limerick were on. 

As Cotter was entitled under the capitulation to his real and personal 
estate, he made suit to Lieut.-Gen. Ginckell, and on October 9th Ginckell 
issued him a ‘protection’ for himself, his family, servants, property and 
so on. 133 In spite of this several attempts were made by enemies to deprive 
him of his property for, as Parliament na mBan says, 134 they were sure 
that if they could destroy him they would have a clear run against all 
others throughout Ireland who came under the Limerick Articles. 
6 Colmain speaks of eighteen legal suits against Cotter but I have no 
details of these. 

That Cotter’s case was regarded as of prime importance is clear from 
mention of him in a series of proposals concerning the forfeitures brought 

130 Smith, The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork, ii, 212. 

131 Cotter MS., p. 80. 
ibid., p. 96. 

1S3 ibid. 

!3411. 90-105. 




before the English House of Commons in January, 1694. 135 These refer 
to persons who have claimed benefit under the Limerick Articles and 
have been ‘adjudged by the Lords Justices and Council to have the Benefit 
of the said Articles ... an instance whereof is plain in the Case of Sir 
James Cotter, who Claiming the Benefit of the Limerick Articles, was 
opposed by Mr. Serjeant Osborn on Their Majesties behalf, on this 
Suggestion, That supposing him within the Benefit of the Articles, he had 
Forfeited his Right thereto; and insisted upon having this Matter heard 
at the Council-board both on account of the President, which might be 
of ill Consequence in other Cases, and likewise for that a very Consider- 
able Estate depended hereon. But in this he was over-ruled, the Examin- 
ation referred to Sir Richard Cox, and Mr. Carleton, on whose Report 
Sir James Cotter, was adjudged within the Limerick Articles, and restored 
to his Estate.’ 

Cotter succeeded in defeating his enemies’ ends, partly, no doubt, 
through the influence of Cox and some more enlightened Cork Protestants. 
This was due, perhaps more than anything else, to his own fair and con- 
ciliatory behaviour when power lay in his hands. Testimony to this effect 
was given in December 1691 by many prominent Cork Protestants who 
declared that during his period as Governor of the City and County ‘the 
Protestants thereof, as much as in him lay, did receive all manner of 
countenance and favor from him’. 136 

Having laid aside his arms, it remained for Cotter to renew his 
family life interrupted three years before. In 1688 he had married Ellen 
Plunkett, daughter of Lord Louth, 137 and in 1689 their eldest son, James, 
had been born. 138 During the campaign of 1690 he had sent his wife to 
France where his second son was born. 139 On the same day as he was 
granted his ‘protection’ after Limerick, he was given by Ginckell a pass 
for his servant William Cotter to go to France ‘to bring back out of the said 
kingdom of France the Lady Ellen Cotter . . . with all her plate, jewels, 
gold, silver and all other goods whatsoever, without paying any custome 
or other duty for the same.’ 140 In January 1692 Lady Cotter, who had 
been residing in Poitiers, was granted a passport under the hand of Louis 
XIV to return to Ireland with her family. 141 

Thus husband and wife were reunited and they settled down in 
Ballinsperrig to a quiet life together which was interrupted by the death 

135 Commons Jrn. xi, p. 56; previously published in Proposals for Raising a 
Million of Money out of the Forfeited Estates in Ireland (London, 1694). 

136 Cotter MS., p. 97, where there are copies of this and other testimonies to 

137 ibid ., p. 43. 

™ibid., p. 127. 

li9 ibid., p. 43. 

140 Cotter MS., p. 96. 

U1 ibid., p. 98. 


of Lady Cotter in 1698. 142 Sir James lived on until 17Q5. 143 Of their seven 
children four died young. 144 The eldest, James or Seamus Og, to whom 
6 Colmain dedicated the preface to Parliament na mBan, was hanged in 
Cork in 1720 having been found guilty of the rape of a Quaker. The 
circumstances connected with this affair and with young Cotter’s trial 
are very strange, and it is highly likely that the real reason for his 
execution was political. 

When he settled down after his adventurous career Sir James Cotter 
characteristically showed his independence of spirit under William III by 
affording protection to Catholic priests, and for more than three years 
Dr. John Baptist Sleyne, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, was sheltered 
by him, during which time Dr. Sleyne was one of the few bishops in the 
country. Again we owe this information to the author of Parliament na 
mBan li5 according to whom churchmen from Munster and from the other 
provinces daily visited Dr. Sleyne and chapters and general assemblies 
were frequently held in Ballinsperrig. 

At a time when others were unable or unwilling to keep up the old 
practice of patronising learning. Cotter welcomed to his house artists, 
musicians and Irish poets. It is little wonder that 6 Bruadair was loud 
in his praise, and it is not surprising that a duanaire or poem-book was 
compiled in his honor. Although this book, to which 6 Colmain refers, 146 
has since been lost, there is still extant a considerable body of verse in 
praise of Sir James Cotter and his son James composed by several of the 
foremost poets of Munster who clearly held them both in high esteem. 
These poems are not without interest, but they add little to our knowledge 
of Sir James Cotter’s career. Among the Irish material 6 Colmain’s 
account is unique. 

142 According to the Cotter MS. (p. 48) Lady Cotter died on April 11, 1698, at 
Downstown and was buried at Louth Hall. 

14S In his will dated Feb. 15, 1703, Cotter directed that he should be buried ‘at 
Kilcurfin with my three children that are already buried there, not doubting that my 
son and heir, when permitted to finish the burying place I began in the Church of 
Carrigtwohill, and of which I was hindered, will remove mine and my said childrens 
bodies thither, which I desire and appoint may be done with all convenient speed 
after finishing the said burying place’. (Cotter MS., p. 59). 

144 Cotter MS., pp. 43-4. 

14511. 110-28. 

14611. 132-8. 

147 I have noted nearly a score of poems on the Cotters by Daivl 6 Bruadair, 
Uilliam Mac Cairteain, Uilliam Rua Ih Mac Coitir, Sean Clarach Mac Domhnaill, 
Eamonn do Val and others. 



By Liam Price, Past President 
[Read 21st April, 1959] 

“Can a full list of ‘Bullauns’ not be compiled?” asked Mr. Hewson, in 
a note on ‘Bullaun stones in Rathlin Island’, in the Journal for 1938. No 
single person could do it. I’m afraid; there must be hundreds of them, 
scattered in all parts of Ireland, and each one would have to be examined 
in order to describe it properly. 

Mr. Crawford was interested in these stones, and when writing about 
their association with cures, in the Journal for 1913, he remarked that 
Glendalough “possesses a greater number of bullaun stones than any other 

Certainly the number is remarkable; there are at least 30 at Glenda- 
lough itself, and there are nearly as many more in the lands which formerly 
belonged to the monastery. It is not easy to see any special reason for such 
a concentration in one place. However, it may be worth while to list and 
describe them, with some others in Co. Wicklow and elsewhere, and to 
make an attempt to investigate how these basin-stones could have been 
used, somewhat in the same way as has been done in the first part of Mr. 
Lacaille’s paper on Stone Basins from the west of Scotland. 1 

The location of most of the stones at Glendalough is shown on the 
map (Fig. 1). Many of them lie near the grass-covered track of St. Kevin’s 
Road on the north side of the river, or close to the river on the opposite 
bank, where they have been rolled down olf the field near the saw mill; 
some are in the river. They were scattered over the low-lying ground on 
the north side of the graveyard, and extended beyond the river as far as the 
north side of the present Wicklow Gap road, and there are a couple outside 
the graveyard on the south side. The field through which St. Kevin’s Road 
runs is overgrown with bushes and covered with stones; there are places in 
it where one fancies that the piles of stones look like the ruins of old huts. 

D. The Deer Stone. The name is derived from the story which is told in the Life of 
St. Kevin, about the doe coming to give milk to the infant Faelan. The basin is 
conical-shaped, 10" in diameter and 8" deep. 2 

a. ‘The Seven Fonts’. The surface of a large boulder has been cut away to a depth 
of 7" to form a flat rectangular space 40" by 29", and there are three basins in the 
rectangle, an oval one 17" by 9", the other two 13" by 12", all about 5" deep (Plate 
IX 1). In the end of this boulder, outside the rectangle, is a fourth basin, circular, 
15" in diameter and 7" deep. The other three basins are in boulders close by; one is 
shown in Plate IX 2. 

iTrans. Glasgow Archaeological Society, N.S. xii (1953) 41-93. 

2 There is a photograph of the stone in the Journal, xxxvi (1906) p. 199. As to 
the name, see note 23 below. 


Fig. 1. Bullaun stones at Glendalough, Co. Wicklow 
Based on the Ordnance Survey, by permission of the Minister for Finance. 
Scale : 25.344 inches to one mile 


b. The upper part of a large boulder has been cut to form a rectangle 40" by 24": 
the surface is flat, and there is a circular basin in it 131" in diameter and 7" deep 
(Plate IX 3). The sides of the rectangle have been cut straight on three sides, and on 
the fourth it is marked off from the boulder by a groove. 

c. A boulder with two basins. 

d. A boulder which looks as if the upper surface was cut flat, leaving a projection at 
one side: one basin, 13" in diameter, 4\" deep (Plate IX 4). 

/. At the saw mill avenue gate: two basins, one broken (Plate X 2). Near this is the 
socket of a cross, which was found about 150 yards away when the road was 
widened; it was moved down to the gate. 

e. g, h, i, j. Different sized boulders, each with a single basin (g, Plate XI: h, in the 
river, Plate X 3). 

k. A boulder behind the saw mill (Plate X 4). The basin shown is circular, 10" in 
diameter, 9" deep. Another basin, slightly smaller, has been formed on the opposite 
surface, and the two basins have broken into one another, making the hole which is 
seen in the photograph. Near it is a boulder broken in two with the half of a basin 
showing in the broken surface (Plate X 5). 

/. A basin in the weathered surface of a large slab which has been built into the 
wall: circular, 81" in diameter, 3" deep. 

m. A large flat boulder, just above 'the Wicklow Gap road, with two basins, one 12" 
in diameter, the other 14" by 124", both 6" deep (Plate XI 1). There are two other 
boulders quite close to it (one of them is shown in Plate XI 3) each containing a 
single basin; another has a shallow depression which looks like the beginning of a 

Another boulder with a single basin is about 400 yards to the west, below the 
Wicklow Gap road (Plate XI 4). 

n. A boulder south-east of the graveyard: basin 11" by 9}", and 6" deep. 

o. A long flat slab, south of the graveyard: shallow basin, 2j" deep. There is another, 
not far to the west of this. 

On the path outside the south wall of St. Kevin’s Church (or ‘Kitchen’) there 
are four granite stones containing basins, two of them broken; they were formerly 
kept in the building (Plate XI 2). One of them has a second basin on the opposite 
surface, and a hole has been broken through between the two basins, as in the 
boulder at the saw mill (k) 3 

There is a stone with a basin of a different shape in the grass at the north-west 
side of St. Kevin’s Church; the basin is circular, 104" in diameter, carefully cut, with 
vertical sides 5\" deep and with the bottom slightly rounded, giving it the shape of a 
shallow U in section. This stone is quite different from the rock-basins listed above, 
and should probably not be described as a ‘bullaun’. 

In the field where St. Kevin’s road is I have on occasions seen at least two other 
basin stones, but on revisiting the place have failed to locate them. The stones get 
covered up by grass and bushes so that it is sometimes hard to find them. Also I 
cannot say that the measurements of the basins are absolutely exact, as it is difficult 
to decide where the curve of the lip of the basin starts; I have noted different 
measurements for the same basin when taking them at different times. 

In the area of St. Kevin’s original settlement near the Upper Lake I only know 
of one stone, a boulder with two basins, one 16" by 13" and the other 14" by 13", 
both 7y" deep (Plate XII 1); it is near the forester’s house in Derrybawn, about 200 
yards east of the bridge leading to the Reefert Church. 4 

All these stones at Glendalough have concave, bowl-shaped basins, except the 
Deer Stone and the stone in the grass near St. Kevin’s Church. The boulders are all 
granite, mostly too large to be moved. 

There are also a number of rock -basins of the same type in the lands which 
formerly belonged to the monastery, particularly in the parish of Derrylossary. in 
which Glendalough is situated, and which was known by the name of Kildalagh in 
the seventeenth century, at the time of Petty’s survey. In it I know of stones in the 
following places: 

l. Killafeen, in Laragh East. A large boulder with four basins and another with two 
basins, both near the place where the road to Glendalough from the east crossed the 
Annamoe river (Plate XI 5). 

3 They are noted in the Official Guide, 1950 edition, p. 51, nos. 38. 39, 40, 41. 

4 Journal , Ixviii (1938) p. 151. 



2. Killalane, in Laragh East. A stone with one basin on the mountain side above the 
Glenmacnass road, near the boundary of Drummin. 

3. Drummin. Five stones on the mountain side, west of the Laragh-Oldbridge road: 
on Drumray, one with two basins and the beginning of a third (Plate XII 2), another 
with two basins, and another with one basin: a little to the south, two more with 
single basins. A sixth stone brought down from the mountain is at the door of 
Glendalough House, Drummin: circular basin. 11" in diameter. There is another 
boulder in Drummin, between the house and Oldbridge, with a basin 12" by 11" and 
5" deep. 

4. Baltynanima. A stone with two basins, south of the road from Oldbridge to 

5. Raheen. A boulder with three basins, near Derrylossary church, and another with 
one basin, between Oldbridge and Derrylossary. 

6. At Derrylossary church, in Ballinacorbeg. A boulder with two circular basins and 
the beginning of a third (Plate XII 3), and the two other boulders, each with a single 
basin. Also another stone, with a conical cavity 11" deep; it is in the ditch at the 
west side of the graveyard. 5 

7. Ashtown or Ballinafunshoge. Inside the east end of the ruined church, a stone 
with a circular basin 14" in diameter and 6" deep. In the field north of the church, 
a boulder with a basin 13" by 11" and 4" deep. Another stone brought from here is 
outside the door of Glendalough House, Drummin; it has a basin 15" by 14" and 6" 

All these 20 stones are within six miles of Glendalough. 

8. Cloghoge. Near the green road, just west of the Cloghoge river: a boulder with 
two circular basins, 11" and 10" in diameter, both 6 deep. A hole Si" deep has 
been bored at the bottom of the larger basin: this was made for a charge of 
dynamite to break the stone; holes of the same size can be seen in the stones in the 
walls and the bridge, which have been broken by blasting. 

9. Sleanaglogh. West by south of Glendalough, on the boundary of Rathnew parish. 
A boulder with a circular basin, 12j" in diameter and 6" deep. It is called ‘the wart 
stone’. It is about half a mile from a well called ‘Lady’s Well’. 

Some of the lands south of Glendalough also belonged to the monastery, 
probably from an early period. On this side, in Knockrath and Rathdrum parishes, 
and within five miles of Glendalough, there are four rock-basins: 

10. Ballintombay Lower, Knockrath parisn. At the side of the road; a boulder with 
three basins, locally known as ‘the wart stone’. 6 

11. Ballintombay Upper, Knockrath parish. Two stones, each having two basins, near 
a raheen, about half a mile north of the stone in Ballintombay Lower. 

12. Ballyhad, Rathdrum parish. A flat boulder with two basins, on top of the hill 
south of Clara bridge, half a mile from the boundary of Knockrath parish. 

Other stones in Co. Wicklow, east side: 

Meetings, Rathdrum parish. The O.S. Name Book (1838) records “a large stone with 
a hole in it”, called St. Kevin's Cup, in the south of the townland. It has now been 
placed beside the bust of Moore, at the Meeting of the Waters. 

Bahana Whaley, Ballykine parish. Near Ballykine graveyard: a stone with a circular 
basin, 134" in diameter and 6" deep. 

Cronebeg. Ballykine parish. A stone with a single basin was brought from here, and 
it is now at the house of Mr. D. O Dubhghaill in Ballymacsimon, Glenealy. 

Clone, Kilpipe parish. A stone with a single basin; this also is now at the house of 
Mr. D. O Dubhghaill, Ballymacsimon. 

Castlemacadam. Near Castlemacadam old graveyard : a stone with a circular basin, 
14" in diameter and 8" deep. 

5 The stones at Derrylossary and Baltynanima, and one at Raheen, have been 
described in the Journal (Ixxviii (1948) 179). The late Mr. E. M. Stephens told me 
that he had seen three or four others there, but that they had been broken up. 

6 Described and illustrated in the Journal (xlii (1912) 340: xliii (1913) 170: also 
1 (1920) 182, where it is recorded as in ‘Ballinabarney’). The O.S. map shows ‘Site of 
Monastery’ about half a mile to the west, in Ballinabarny townland. 


Shelton Abbey, Kilbride parish, Arklow. In the garden: a stone with a circular 
basin I6j" by 15" and 5" deep. It was brought from Whitson Hill, where there is 
said to have been an old graveyard. 

Ballyknockanbeg, Glenealy parish. Stone with a circular basin, 12" in diameter and 
7" deep, said to have been brought from Coolnakilly. It has a hole in the bottom 
which, I was told, was bored by the farmer, who used it for feeding pigs. 

Cronroe, Rathnew parish. A boulder containing an oval basin and a shallow depres- 
sion, and another boulder with a circular basin. A well near them is said to have 
been called ‘the priests well’. 

Glebe, Knockrobin, Rathnew parish. Near the site of Drumkay church. Boulder with 
a basin 13" by 11" and 7" deep. A chip has been recently broken off one side. 
Kilmartin, Killiskey parish. A shaped stone with a shallow basin, 8" in diameter and 
3" deep. This is not a ‘bullaun’; it may have been a holy water stoup. 

Ballinahinch Upper, Newcastle Upper parish. A boulder in a raheen: circular basin 
8" in diameter and 3" deep. 

Knockatemple, Calary (formerly Newcastle Upper) parish. Near the old graveyard: a 
boulder with a basin 16" by 14" and 6" deep. 

Tinnapark Demesne, Kilcoole parish. A stone in front of the house, said to have 
been brought from a field near Holywell. 

Kilmurry South, Kilmacanoge parish. In the ruin of the church at the place called 
Teetample or the Monastery: a boulder with a basin 14" by 12" and 8" deep. 
Deerpark, Powerscourt parish. A large boulder with 4 basins, two circular and two 
elliptical: the surface of the boulder appears to have been artificially levelled: called 
‘the praying stone’. It is near the site of an old church. 

Tonygarrow, Powerscourt parish. At a site called ‘the Relic’. A large flat rock with 
a circular basin, 16" in diameter and 8 deep. 

Monastery, Powerscourt parish. O’Curry in the Ordnance Survey Letters records “a 
baptismal font” as having been dug up in the glen near Enniskerry. It is not to be 
seen now. 

In south Co. Dublin I know two boulders with basins at Rathmichael church, 
and a large boulder with two large conical cavities at Kill of the Grange church. At 
Glassamucky Mountain in Tallaght parish, just beside the boundary of Co. Wicklow, 
there is a large boulder (Plate XII 5, 6) with a circular cavity 18" in diameter and 6" 
deep, not basin-shaped but with steep sides and flat bottom; at the eastern end of 
the boulder there is a similar cavity, and beside it a basin-shaped hollow, partly 
broken away; near this are two shallow depressions. Some 500 yards to the north- 
west there is a large boulder with a cross incised on it. There is a stone in Saggart 
graveyard called ‘the wart stone’; it was the socket of a cross. 7 
Stones in west Co. Wicklow: 

Kilbeg, Boystown parish. A boulder near St. Boodin’s well, with a basin 18" by 14" 
and 10" deep. 

Lackan, Boystown parish. Outside Templeboodin graveyard: a boulder with a 
circular cavity 13" in diameter and 6 deep, cup-shaped, with sloping sides and 
rounded bottom. 

Ballyknockan, Boystown parish. Near a rath which is now submerged: a large stone 
called ‘the wart stone’, with a circular basin 17|" in diameter and 8" deep. 

Crehelp. At the site of the old church, locally called ‘the Religeen’: a circular basin 
10" in diameter and 4" deep, cut in the sloping surface of a small granite boulder 
(Plate XII 4). 

Kilbaylet Lower, Donard parish. A boulder here which was broken up is said to 
have had five circular cavities. 8 

Brittas. Donaghmore parish. A large boulder called ‘the holy stone’, with five basins: 
one called ‘the giant’s foot’, 28" long, is formed by two basins with a low ridge 
between, and is shaped like a foot: the other four basins are circular. Near it is 
another large rock with four circular basins, and another boulder with a single basin. 
Freynestown. In a field called ‘the bullock park’, said by local tradition to be the 
site of a monastery : a stone with a shallow circular basin 9" in diameter and 2" deep. 

7 Journal, lxxvii (1947) 86. 

8 Journal , lxi (1931) 137. 



This may perhaps have been a holy water stoup; the place may be the site of the 
Anglo-Norman church of Freynestown. 

Rampere, Rathbran parish. A boulder with a basin, in a rath which was almost 
obliterated when the road was made. 

Aghowle Lower, Aghowle parish. A boulder near the old church, with four basins, 
one broken (Fig. 2). 

Fig. 2. Aghowle, Co. Wicklow 

Photo : C. O Cuileanain. 

These are all the stones that I know of in Co. Wicklow, but it is quite likely that 
there may be more. 

At Clane, Co. Kildare, there is a ‘bullaun’ stone with a circular basin 18" deep; 
it is called ‘the wart stone’. Another stone near Clane which is called ‘the wart stone’ 
is the base of a cross. A similar stone at Crossmorris, Co. Kildare, with a diamond- 
shaped socket for a cross cut in it, is also called ‘the wart stone’. 9 

In Co. Carlow I have noted a large flat boulder with three basins at Clonmore, 
near the graveyard; at Ballycook a large boulder with a conical cavity, outside 
Kineagh old graveyard; at Aghade. in the graveyard, a stone with a basin 12" in 
diameter and 5" deep, which has been described as ‘an ancient font’; 10 at Kildreenagh 
near Bagenalstown, a large boulder with two conical cavities, beside the ruin of an 
old church. 1 ! 

In Kilcavan parish in north Co. Wexford there are two stones, both with some- 
what broken basins, one at Killinierin and the other in the adjoining townland of 
Ballynestragh Demesne. 12 

Descriptions have been given of a great many rock-basins in other 
parts of the country; I need only mention a few of the more remarkable. 
The well known stone called St. Bridget’s stone at Termon, near Blacklion, 
Killinagh parish, Co. Cavan, near the old graveyard, has nine basins with 
round stones in them; it has attracted particular notice because of the 
tradition that it was used as a cursing stone. 13 A limestone boulder at 

9 See Journal Kildare Arch. Soc., iii (1899) 110: ibid., i (1891) 27, 251: ibid., ix 
(1918) 258. 

10 Comerford. Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, iii 117. 

^Illustrated in Journal, xl (1910) 171. 

12 Journal , xxix (1899) 404. 

13 Journal , xiii (1875) 460: xliii (1913) 268: the photograph, fig. 2, facing p. 268, 
shows this stone. The person wishing to bring a curse on another was supposed to 
turn the stones in the basins. 


Meelaghans, Geashill parish, Co. Offaly, has six basins and three shallow 
depressions. 14 There are two large granite stones, one with six and the 
other with three basins, at Gortavoher, Clonbeg parish, Co. Tipperary: 
some of the basins at the edges of the stones are partly broken away. 
According to tradition the hollows were formed by the knees of three 
saints who constantly prayed there. 15 A rock not far from the pass of 
Keamaneigh, near Gouganebarra, Co. Cork, has five basins with round 
stones in them; the story about it was that the stones in the basins were 
lumps of butter which had been turned into stone by St. Fiachna. 16 Wilde 
gives a drawing of a stone at Cong in which there are five basins, and he 
describes another at Inchagoill “with an oval-shaped depression 6 by 4 
inches in diameter”; he suggests that these were primitive fonts. 17 A cross 
is incised on a boulder at Carrowmore, near Clonca, Co. Donegal, in which 
there is a rock-basin; the water in the basin was used to cure many diseases. 
The place is said to be the site of the old monastery of Both Chonais. 18 A 
drawing of Wakeman’s shows another incised cross in a basin in a boulder 
of red sandstone near the lake at Drumgay, Co. Fermanagh; he describes 
this basin as “worked out with a punch”. He gives a sketch of another 
basin at Gortaloughan on the north shore of this lake; he says this place 
was considered sacred, and that the water in the basin was used to cure eye 
diseases; he saw rags hanging on the bushes. 19 St. Molaisse’s famous 
monastery of Devenish is about a mile to the west of these two stones. 

A boulder at Garranes, Kilcaskan parish, Co. Kerry, has several basins 
in it, in which there are rounded pebbles. The site is called Temple 
Feaghna, and the story that these were butter rolls, changed into stone by 
the saint, is told here as well as at Keamaneigh. 20 A large sandstone slab 
near Kilmalkedar church, Co. Kerry, has several basins in it, some of them 
now covered by the grass (Plate XIII 1). They are locally called ‘keelers’ or 
‘beisti’ (milk-tubs); the local people say that the legendary cow, the Glas 
Ghaibhneach, was milked into the basins by the monks. 21 A boulder with 
two hollows at Boherduff, Kilconickny parish, near Loughrea, Co. Galway, 
is locally known as the holy well of Tobermacduach (Plate XIII 2). A stone 
called ‘Doughnambraher Font’ in the townland of Killian, Templemaley 
parish, Co. Clare, has a hollow in which there are nine round stones (Plate 
XIII 4); it is said to cure warts. There is another wartstone at Kilvoydan, 
Co. Clare, which is the socket of an ancient cross. Mr. T. J. Westropp adds 
a list of some other ‘bullauns’ in the same county and says “There are 

14 Journal , x (1869) 349; the writer describes two of the shallow depressions as 

15 Journal , xxxiii (1903) 193; xl (1910) 60. 

isp.R.I.A. xvii (1889) 263. The exact location of this stone is not stated. There is 
no mention of any tradition of cursing being associated with the basins. 

17 Lough Corrib, 1867 ed., pp. 148, 164. 

18 Journal , xxxii (1902) 300. 

19 Journal , xiii (1875) 462, 466; P.R.I.A. xvii (1889) 261. 

20 Journal , xxviii (1898) 320-1; photograph facing p. 314. 

21 An Seabhac, Triocha Cead Chorea Dhuibhne, p. 117. 



several basins in the crags of the Burren, often near forts and dolmens, but 
I believe them to be natural ”. 22 

The story now told about the Deer Stone at Glendalough is that a wild 
doe came from the mountain every day in answer to St. Kevin’s prayer and 
filled the hollow with milk to feed the infant of a workman whose wife 
had died. This is only a modern version of the legend, told in the Irish lives, 
that at St. Kevin’s command the doe left her milk daily in a hollow stone 
for his fosterling, the infant Faelan. The hollow stone is an addition put 
into the legend by the composer of the Irish life; in the earlier Latin life 
the story is told in a simpler form which is common to many of the 
saints’ lives: at the saint’s prayer a wild doe comes from the mountain to 
be milked . 23 

The connection between hollow stones and the story of the deer is 
found elsewhere. There is a stone called clock na h-eilte at Tullylease, Co. 
Cork; the legend is that a deer used to fill the hollow in it with milk for 
the workmen when they were building the church . 24 A story very like the 
Deer Stone legend is in the late Latin life of St. Mochulleus, of Tulla, Co. 
Clare. A doe led him to the site of his church; in levelling the foundation 
he came on a stone with a polished surface and a deep hollow like a large 
ewer ( hydrici ); the doe used to come every day to this hollow as if to a 
milking pail ( muicrum ), and leave its milk in it of its own accord ( uberibus 
spontanea voluntate lac eodem distillare ), in order to nourish the saint and 
a sick brother whom he had with him . 25 Another story of this class is the 
one I have mentioned about the Glas Ghaibhneach being milked into the 
basins in the stone at Kilmalkedar. 

That rock-basins were mysterious objects and that the people had no 
recollection of the purpose they served is clear enough from the stories 
that were told about them. Sometimes the hollows are said to have been 
made by a saint’s knees, as in the Gortavoher stone. A stone with two 
hollows, about two miles south of Kilkenny, is called Glun Padraig or St. 
Patrick’s Knees . 26 The same sort of story is told about a stone in Wales; 
there are several large artificial oval basin-shaped hollows in it, and the 
legend is that they were made by the heads of saints who sheltered against 
the stone. This is near the old gold workings at Gogofau in Carmarthen- 

2 2 Journal , xxxiv (1904) 190-1. 

23 See the references in Plummer, V.S.H., i p. cxliv. That the Deer Stone is the 
hollow stone about which the story was told is not certain; the Irish life says the 
stone was at Inis Eilte, ‘the doe's milking-place,’ but this name is not known now. It 
is possible that the name, the Deer Stone, was taken from the books in the 18th 
century when attention was first directed to the ruins and was then given to this 
stone. On the other hand the stone may have been one of the stations of the pattern, 
and the name may have been handed down by tradition. 

24 Ulster Jnl. of Archaeology, 1st Ser., vi (1858) 274. There is a drain hole in this 

25 Analecta Bollandiana xvii p. 141: see an article by Westropp, Journal, xli 
(1911) at p. 5. 

26 Journal , xiv (1877) 200. According to Shearman, these are natural hollows in 
the limestone rock. 


shire; the writer suggests that the hollows were produced in the process of 
crushing the ore. 27 As Lacaille says of the folklore associated with the 
Scottish stones, “that story should have become attached to so many is 
already an indication, if not of considerable antiquity, at least of the passing 
from memory of their purpose”. 28 

The basins in most of the stones mentioned above are undoubtedly 
artificial. The broken one (Plate X 5) shows the usual shape. One does, 
however, find rounded cavities which have been produced by natural 
agencies. Lacaille gives examples of natural rock-basins; 29 he prints a photo- 
graph of a limestone boulder in Co. Laoighis showing two deep hollows; 
these look artificial but the Geological Survey notes that this limestone 
weathers out into holes along lines of bedding. He reproduces drawings of 
basins which have been formed by weathering in granite, but these are 
usually of a rather irregular shape. The basin in the middle of the stone at 
Glassamucky Mountain (Plate XII 5, 6) could hardly have been produced 
by weathering, but it is probably weathering that has partly broken away 
the basin at the edge of the stone, and this may also account for the broken 
basins at the edge of the Gortavoher stone. At Glanreemore in Co. Wicklow 
there are hollows in the slaty rock in the bed of the stream which the local 
people regard as artificial, one circular one in particular being very evenly 
shaped; but there can be little doubt that in fact they have all been formed 
by the action of water. 

Expert examination would be necessary to decide whether the basins 
in the limestone boulder at Meelaghans are natural or artificial. 30 A stone 
near Kilree church, Co. Kilkenny, which I was told was called Glunbride, 
is a small boulder of limestone with irregular hollows in it which are 
obviously natural. Limestone is especially liable to weather into these 
rounded hollows. In the Burren district on the borders of Co. Clare and Co. 
Galway this produces the natural basins which Mr. Westropp speaks of. It 
is there and in the Aran Islands that the word balldn is used by Irish 
speakers for a round hole in a rock. As Joyce says, 31 it is this word which 
has been borrowed by modern antiquarians who use ‘bullaun’ to mean an 
artificial rock-basin. Perhaps this modern sense of the word originated 
among persons who were familiar with the hollows in the limestone of the 
Burren. It would not have come from Co. Mayo, for, as Professor Delargy 
has kindly informed me, Irish speakers there do not use the word balldn in 
this sense. 

27 Archaeologia Cambrensis, 5th Ser., x (1893) 93: 4th Ser., ix (1878) 322. 

28 /oc. cit., p. 57. 

29 /oc. cit., pp. 58-60. The Co. Laoighis boulder, which he describes as at 
“Coolrain, Ballaghmore”, appears to be the large stone near Kyle graveyard, close 
to the Co. Tipperary border, which O’Donovan, writing in the Queen's Co. O.S. 
Letters, describes as having five holes : '‘tradition says that they are the impression of 
the saint [Molua]’s knees, head and elbows, when at prayer”. This graveyard is the 
site of the ancient monastery of Cluain ferta Molua. 

30 See note 14 above. 

31 Social History of Ancient Ireland, ii 78: Irish Names of Places, iii 152. 



It is possible, however, that some word similar to balldn was in use 
for these basin-stones in the 17th century. The three Irish lives of St. Kevin 
tell the story of the doe leaving her milk in a hollow stone. Two of them 
have isin cloich thuill, ar cloich thuill, ‘in (or on) a hollow stone’; the third 
has ar chloich tholta, ‘on a hollowed stone’. A copy of this third life was 
made in Cork in 1627 by a scribe who, as Plummer says, 32 was not content 
to be a mere copyist, and in this phrase he has altered the word tholta into 
phollta; the literal meaning of this would be ‘pierced, perforated’, which 
would not seem to be the sense that the story requires. If the change to 
phollta has any significance, it would suggest that he knew some such word 
as pollan for these basins. 

Most of the stones in which ‘bullauns’ are found are boulders which 
are too large to be moved; sometimes they are large blocks which can be 
handled even though they are heavy. Two of the stones at St. Kevin’s 
Church have round stones in them, and so has one of the stones at 
Glendalough House, Drummin, but I doubt if these have any significance; 
the district is full of water-worn rounded stones, and it is quite likely that 
somebody saw a stone that would fit a basin and put it into it. As Crawford 
says, 33 they could not be used for grinding, for they are so large that they 
crush the fingers. Anyone can find this out by experiment. If the basins 
were intended for grinding, some smaller implement must have been used. 

Crawford suggests that these large round stones were used for ‘turning’, 
like the stones in St. Bridget’s Stone at Blacklion. There are, however, two 
stones at Glendalough with a basin on each side, which have met at the 
bottom and broken through the stone; one of these is shown in Plate X 4. 
A similar stone is recorded from Devenish, Co. Fermanagh. A stone from 
Aghalee old church, Co. Antrim, has two basins hollowed on opposite 
sides, but these have not broken through. 34 The boulder called St. Columb’s 
Stone at Derry has two artificial oval hollows on each side. 35 

The explanation usually given, as Crawford says, for the curious 
feature of the two Glendalough stones is that the hollow became too deep 
for the purpose it was intended to serve, and that the stone was turned over 
and a fresh basin was formed on the opposite side. The suggestion that the 
stones were used for ‘turning’ would hardly account for these cases where 
basins on opposite sides have broken into one another. They would seem to 
imply a grinding process, continued until it broke through the stone. 

Wakeman thought that ‘bullauns’ were to be associated with cup- 
marks and concentric circles, and he describes some stones on which basins 
and markings of this kind are found together.' 36 He includes the hollows in 
the large stone troughs found in the passage-graves at Newgrange and 

32 Bethada Naem nErenn, i, pp. xii, xiii. 

33 Journal , xliii (1913) 267. 

34 Ulster Jnl. of Archaeol., 3rd Ser., iii (1940) 112, and Fig. 3 on p. 111. 

35 Ordnance Survey Memoir of Londonderry, 1837. p. 26. The writer adds that 
stones with hollows of this kind are found in the vicinity of most Irish churches. 

33 Journal , xiii (1875) 445-470; also xii (1873) 510-2. 


Sliabh na Caillighe; these are, however, quite different from ‘bullauns’. 
Among his cup-marked stones he illustrates some curious slabs with small 
shallow depressions from the paving of a cist which contained a cinerary 
urn. Could these have perhaps been used for grinding pigments? 

Westropp mentions an artificial basin in a stone which is in front of a 
megalith at Newgrove, in Tulla parish, Co. Clare. 37 Professor de Valera 
has kindly informed me, however, that this stone does not form portion of 
the tomb and that it is very doubtful whether it has any connection with 
the original monument. 

Lacaille mentions artificial basins which accompany prehistoric rock- 
carvings in Scotland, some of them in association with cup-marks. One of 
Wakeman’s illustrations shows a stone of this kind at Pubble, near Tempo, 
Co. Fermanagh. These prehistoric basins are rare, however, in comparison 
with ordinary ‘bullaun’ stones, like those which I have illustrated. 

Many ‘bullaun’ stones were believed to have the power of healing 
diseases; stories about some of them have been noticed above. The tradition 
that the water in them would cure warts was very general. Stones in 
Scotland were also said to have curative powers. The water in a partly 
natural basin at Killin, in Perthshire, was said to cure whooping-cough. 38 
There was a tradition about two stones near Inverness that their virtues 
would aid childless women who bathed in their waters; one of them, at 
Killianan, near Abriachan, was said to have been used by St. Columba as 
a font; the other is near the church of Arpafeelie; the usual folk-story was 
told about the disturbances which occurred when it was moved. 39 It was 
only in the 18th century that observers began to publish stories about these 
cures, but the traditional beliefs were no doubt much older. The use of 
water in a hollow stone to cure diseases is mentioned in two of the Latin 
lives of the saints, the miraculous power in each case being attributed to a 
hollow made in the stone by the head of the infant saint. 40 

Basin-stones were formerly in common use for preparing food in 
Scotland, and less commonly in Ireland. Basins in roughly shaped blocks 
were used for bruising furze in places in the north of Ireland. Mr. Hewson’s 
note, which I mentioned at the beginning of this paper, has a photograph 
of one in Rathlin Island, which was said to have been used “for bruising 
whins, oats, for food stuff for horses, etc.”; another was then (1938) “still in 
use as a mortar for the bruising of cereals for human and animal consump- 
tion”. Mitchell writing in 1880 shows a ‘knockin’ stane’ which he saw being 
used in Shetland, and Curwen gives a photograph, taken in 1902, of a man 
using one in the island of Foula. 41 These were heavy roughly shaped stones 
with hollows in them. The implement employed was a wooden pounder or 

37 P.R.I.A. xx (1897) 547, and Plate IX; xxiv (1902) 109, 114. 

38 Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., xviii (1883-4) 372. 

39ibid., xvi (1881-2) 377, 386. 

4opiummer, V.S.H., i p. 34 (Aed mac Brice): ii p. 36 (Declan). These are probably 
compilations of the eleventh or twelfth centuries (see Kenney, pp. 313, 393). 

41 77ie Past in the Present, p. 44; Antiquity, XI (1937) Plate I facing p. 136. 



mallet; Mitchell illustrates one which is very carefully shaped. A descrip- 
tion from St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides, of pounding barley in a mortar to 
remove the husks says it was done with a wooden pestle studded with 
nails. 42 Kinahan when in Donegal in 1883 found that stone basins were 
being used there “for crushing oats into meal or malt for illicit distillery 
purposes, the pestle they use being an iron one made by the country smith”, 
like an apothecary’s pestle. 43 

Hollows in boulders were used in the same way for preparing food, 
for example at Colonsay island, off the south-west coast of Scotland. 44 
Lacaille mentions a rock-basin in Argyllshire which had been used as a 
mortar; the basin was cut in a flat rock-outcrop, almost on the threshold of 
a cottage. 45 In a note he mentions a communal mortar which he saw in 
Jamaica, and examples from America of rocks containing several basins 
are given by Bennett and Elton. 46 Stone basins were used for preparing food 
in all parts of the world. I have seen a picture taken recently in Indonesia 
of grain being pounded in a stone mortar with a wooden pestle which looks 
just the same as the pestle shown on an ancient Greek vase (Plate XIII 3, 
reproduced from RIG 1918 i p. 19). 

What we know about ‘bullauns’, then, is that they are basins or 
hollows, usually bowl-shaped, in rocks or boulders or heavy blocks of 
stone. Some of them seem to have been formed naturally, but the great 
majority are artificial. A few are found in association with prehistoric rock- 
carvings and are probably of Bronze Age date. In most cases, however, 
they are found in boulders which are at or near early church sites. There is 
no evidence to show when these were first made. Passages in 11th or 12th 
century lives of the saints show that already at that time legends had 
become attached to them. In more recent times we find various stories told 
about the hollows being made by supernatural means, or about the 
miraculous purposes for which they were used: the water in them could 
heal diseases, or cure barrenness in women: turning stones in them could 
bring a curse on the person against whom the stones were turned. In remote 
districts of Scotland they have been used within the past 150 years for 
pounding barley and preparing food, and they were used in the same way 
in some places in Ireland. 

There is very little in this to throw light on the purposes for which 
‘bullauns’ were originally made or used. It is a question which has aroused 
a good deal of interest, and different conjectures have been put forward 
which, of course, is all that can be done, seeing that there is so little 

42 Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., Ixii (1927-8) 132. Stone mortars were used for de- 
husking barley in Switzerland : R. Wildhaber, Gerstenmorser, Gerstenstampfe, 
Gerstenwalze, in Schweiz. Archiv f. Volkskunde, XLV (1948) pp. 196-9. I am obliged 
to Mr. A. T. Lucas for kindly showing me this latter paper. 

43 Journal . xvi (1883) 174. 

44 Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., xv (1880-1) 132. 

i5 loc. cit., p. 57. 

i6 History of Corn Milling, vol. I pp. 5, 7. 

Plate IX] [To face page 172 

Bullauns Glendalough 4. d. Photos : G. Stacpoole. 

Plate X] [To face P a E e 173 

‘ Bullauns Glendalough 5. k. Photos : G. Stacpoole. 


evidence. Lacaille’s paper is mainly descriptive; he appears to regard rock- 
basins as intended for domestic use, except when they occur in connection 
with cup-markings or prehistoric rock-carvings; but he does not offer any 
opinion about their use in antiquity. 

A paper published some years ago stresses the ritual purposes for 
which the stones were employed, and suggests that the ‘bullaun’ is a develop- 
ment of the cup-mark, and that its origin is to be sought in the megalithic 
cult. 47 The evidence for this, however, is slight. It is a common belief that 
‘bullauns’ could cure warts, but so could other stones; some of the ‘wart- 
stones’ have rectangular cavities and were undoubtedly the sockets of 
crosses. From this it appears that stones belonging to the Christian period 
could become objects of superstition once people had forgotten what they 
really were. A curious example of healing powers being attributed to an 
object the use of which had been forgotten is recorded from Scotland; two 
stones of white quartz, which were originally sockets in which the vertical 
axles of millstones turned, were believed by the local people to have the 
power of curing inflammation of the breasts. 48 

Crawford makes an important observation on this subject of cures in 
a note about a stone at Killerry, Co. Sligo. 49 This is a flat slab, with round 
stones lying on it: the tradition was that in order to cure strained sinews 
these stones should be turned while a prayer was said. Crawford notes that 
there was said to be a spring of water under the slab, but that in fact there 
was no sign of water; “the assertion that there is water under the stone 
may”, he says, “be due to a general idea that water in some form should 
be associated with monuments of the kind”. This may be the explanation 
of the cures; it was probably to the water in the ‘bullauns’ or other cavities 
that curative properties were ascribed, by an extension of the widely held 
belief in the healing power of the water of holy wells. 

The paper referred to also suggests that the turning of stones for 
cursing shows the pagan origin of ‘bullauns’. Wakeman records this 
tradition about St. Bridget’s Stone at Blacklion, but I have not found it 
told of any other ‘bullaun’. It is not a practice specially connected with 
‘bullaun’ stones. At Inismurray the stones called ‘cursing stones’ are lying 
on flat slabs on the top of the clocha breaca altar. There was a cursing stone 
at Kilcummin, near Killala, Co. Mayo, which is well remembered in local 
tradition even at the present day; this was a flat stone, said to measure 
about two feet by 18 inches, which was turned over by the person invoking 
the curse; 50 the superstition was so strongly attached to it that it was 
removed from the graveyard to prevent people using it. At Killerry the 
turning of the stones on the slab was done in order to effect a cure. There 
was a basin-stone at Kilcatrine church ruin on Colonsay, and near it were 

47 Crozier and Rea, Bullauns and other Basin-Stones, Ulster Jnl. of Archaeol., 
3rd Ser. iii (1940) 104-114: see p. 111. 

48 Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., xviii (1883-4) 375. 

49 Journal , xliii (1913) 267. 

50 Journal, xxviii (1898) 297. 




some small bits of pavement with holes through them; a practice existed of 
turning a pear-shaped stone sunwise in the largest piece of pavement, but 
the people did not say what they turned the stones for. In an old chapel on 
the island of Rona there was a plank of wood with holes in it, and stones 
on the holes. 51 In these two instances the stones may have been turned for 
the purpose of obtaining some advantage, as at Killerry. The practice of 
turning stones looks like a survival from pre-Christian times of some half- 
forgotten magical rite, but the evidence does not show that it had any 
primary association with ’bullaun’ stones. 

The evidence put forward by the writers in this paper to show that 
“bullauns played an important role in the old fertility worship” seems 
equally unsatisfactory. In the case of the two stones near Inverness, at 
Killianan and Arpafeelie, which have been mentioned above, the tradition 
was that bathing in the water in them would aid childless women. This is 
an example of healing properties, similar to the power of curing barrenness 
which is attributed to some holy wells. The suggestion is also made that a 
connection with fertility rites is evident in the case of a stone at Monea* 
near Ardmore, Co. Waterford. The story told about the stone seems to 
show phallic symbolism. “It is a stone of about 2 feet long by 18 inches in 
breadth, and 18 inches in depth, and is hollowed into an oval trough-like 
shape — probably an old Pagan ‘rock-basin’. . . . There is a hole in its 
centre, in which, on Ash Wednesday, the sporting bachelors of the village 
stuck a wattle with a quantity of tow tied to its top; they . . . brought 
with them all the old maidens they could muster, and made them dance 
round . . . holding the pendent tow”; they then dragged them through the 
village seated on old logs of wood. 52 I have not seen this stone, but it does 
not seem to be an ordinary ‘bullaun’; a drawing of it is given by Westropp; 
he says it resembles a rude cross-base, and that is certainly what his illustra- 
tion looks like. 

Brash regarded this as the remnant of some old phallic rite. However* 
if the stone was a cross-base, the ceremony obviously was not originally 
associated with it. In any case it seems probable that this Ardmore 
performance is to be explained as a transference of old superstitions to 
an object the purpose of which was no longer known. It may be another 
decayed survival of some sort of prehistoric rite, but that such practices 
were originally connected with ‘bullaun’ stones is very doubtful. More 
probably it was because the purpose of such stones had faded from memory 
that legends became attached to them. 

In many of the notes which have been published about ‘bullaun’ 
stones, the writers have described them as baptismal fonts. It is difficult* 
however, to accept this explanation. There is not much published informa- 
tion about early Irish fonts. The few of which there is any knowledge have 

51 Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., xv (1880-1) 120-1. 

52 Fitzgerald. Journal, iv (1856), 43: quoted by Brash, Ecclesiastical Architecture 
of Ireland, p. 119. Westropp’s description and illustration. Journal, xxxiii (1903) 375, 
377. Canon Power also thought it was a cross-base: Place-Names of Dccies, 73. 


little resemblance to ‘bullauns’. A very unusual one, which seems to be old, 
is the large granite basin at Tallaght, Co. Dublin; it is 5 ft. 5 ins. long and 
the bowl is 1 ft. 4 ins. deep. O’Curry thought it was used for the baptism of 
adults. The stone vessel at Kiltiernan church, Co. Dublin, which is illus- 
trated by Walceman, seems to be a font; it is shaped like a bowl, and it has 
a drain-hole. At Killeshin, Co. Laoighis, there is a font with a funnel- 
shaped basin 16 ins. in diameter and 16 ins. deep; the stone is circular and 
has three plain bands carved round the outer surface; there is a drain-hole 
in the bottom, and a socket on the rim which was probably intended to 
hold a lid. It is difficult to say, however, whether this is a pre-Norman or a 
post-Norman font, since Killeshin church was in use up to the 16th century 
and later. The same difficulty arises about giving a date to the broken font 
which is lying in the old graveyard at Rathnew, Co. Wicklow; the stone is 
circular in shape, and it has a round basin, 18 ins. in diameter and 10 ins. 
deep, with a drain-hole in the bottom. 53 

Fig. 3. Fonts, Co. Wicklow 

Rosahane. Inchinappa. Ballymaghroe. 

Some other examples are almost certainly post-Norman, such as the 
large square font at Kilmosanctan church in Glenasmole, Co. Dublin; it is 
like the one not far away at Cruagh, which is described by Ball; there is a 
broken font of much the same type at Clondalkin. 54 Some fonts in Co. 
Wicklow also appear to be post-Norman; one at Killiskey was octagonal in 
shape, though it is now very badly weathered; it has a circular basin, 20 ins. 
in diameter and 8 ins. deep, with a drain-hole at the side, and there are two 
slots in the upper surface evidently meant for holding a lid. Figure 3 gives 
sketches of three others, copied from rough drawings which I made on the 
spot when visiting the sites. The vessel at Rosahane has a slit and a groove 
at one side; if it was a font, as its appearance suggests, it presumably had a 
lining. The Inchinappa vessel is broken. Part of the rim of the Bally- 
maghroe font has been chipped away; there are two crosses in relief placed 

53 Tallaght: Journal, xxix (1899) 102; Ball. Hist, of Co. Dublin, iii 45. Kiltiernan: 
Journal, xxi (1891) 700, and plate facing p. 699. Killeshin: Journal, lv (1925) 94; J. 
Kildare Arch. Soc., vi (1909) 199. Rathnew: Journal, lviii (1928), plate facing p. 139. 

54 Cruagh: Ball, loc. cit., iii 53. Clondalkin: J. Kildare Arch. Soc., v (1906-8) 4, 
and photograph at p. 11. 



opposite to one another on the outside of it. There is a font in the Cistercian 
Abbey at Baltinglass which is like this one in shape but is not ornamented. 55 

The name The Seven Fonts’ is given on the Ordnance map to the 
remarkable group of boulders at Glendalough (Plate IX 1, 2), but there can 
hardly be any doubt that this is a mistake; the carefully shaped rectangular 
trough with three basins in the bottom could not have been made for use 
as a font. Boulders with several basins, like that at Kilmalkedar (Plate XIII 
1), are most unlikely to have been fonts; and except for the number of 
basins there is no difference in type between them and the numerous 
‘bullaun’ stones which have only one basin. 

Although at an early period on the continent special baptisteries were 
built over running water, it was not until the 9th century that fonts came 
into general use. In Ireland and in Wales the practice of the early saints 
was to administer baptism in rivers or springs. A few of the fonts that have 
survived in Wales are said to be early, but one writer goes so far as to 
suggest that there were no pre-Norman fonts there: “We could only expect 
the Font when Christianity had become settled and organized. But 
organization, diocesan and parochial, in the Welsh Church, came with the 
Normans”. 56 

Some unornamented basin-stones are included among the illustrations 
in a paper on Scottish Baptismal Fonts, but the writer does not date them. 57 
Lacaille speaks of Scottish pre-Reformation fonts as ranging “from rude 
hollowed boulders to well-executed shapely vessels”; but he appears to 
doubt that any of them are of great antiquity. Some vessels which are 
described as fonts of Norman date he considers to be heavy mediaeval 
mortars. 58 

If the rock-basins which are found at so many old churches in Ireland 
were made for use as baptismal fonts, it seems difficult to understand how 
their purpose came to be so quickly forgotten that fanciful stories were 
already being told about them in the 11th and 12th centuries. 

The suggestion that ‘bullaun’ stones were simply mortars used for the 
preparation of food has often been made. A writer in our Journal nearly a 
century ago said that they were generally supposed to be very rude and very 
ancient fonts, but that he felt dissatisfied with this, and had “come to the 
conclusion that they were rude mortars, in which the priests living in 
connexion with such churches, in a very early age after the introduction of 
Christianity, had ground their corn for food”, the grinding being done in 
the shallow hollows by turning a stone on them, and in the deep hollows 
with a pestle formed from hard timber. 59 

Dr. Raftery has expressed an opinion to very much the same effect: 
“The percentage of associations of bullauns and early monastic sites leads 

55 J. Kildare Arch. Soc., v (1906-8) 411. 

56Archaeologia Cambrensis, 6th Ser. xvii (1917) at p. 273. 

57 Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., xxi (1886-7) 346-448. 

58Lacaille, loc. cit., p. 67, and pp. 47-8. 

59Dr. Martin of Portlaw, Co. Waterford: Journal, xiii (1875) 438. 


one to believe that they were mainly for use in connection with the grinding 
or pounding of herbs or roots in such establishments though they were in 
all probability known and used earlier”. 60 

This explanation, that the basins were mortars, is of course just as 
conjectural as the other theories, but on the whole it seems less open to 

I have mentioned the use of rock-basins in the Scottish islands for 
making pot-barley, that is, barley from which the outer husks have been 
removed. An account of the way the barley was beaten with a wooden 
mallet until the husks were rubbed off is given in an article written in 
1 900. 61 The people of Colonsay in 1881 described how the basins were 
used. One was in “a large earthfast boulder stone several tons weight. In 
the middle of the stone is an artificial round hole or basin about 12 inches 
deep and the same wide. Alexander M’Neill . . . pointed out the stone. 
He said that in his young days pot barley was made in the hole in the stone 
by beating it with a wooden hammer having a long handle, some water 
being put into the hole along with the rough barley. Pot barley was last 
made in this stone about forty years ago. The stone stood in the open air 
and was common to all the neighbourhood, each person waiting their turn, 
the work being mostly done by women. Mrs- Archibald M’Neill, wife of the 
farmer on Garvard Farm, and a native of the island, also explained the 
process, having seen her mother making it. . . . Archibald M’Neill, fisher- 
man, Riskbuie, remembers his mother and other persons having used the 
one in Riskbuie burying-ground. . . . Knocking stones were all outside 
the dwellings, and were round holes or basins in some convenient earthfast 
boulder stone or rock; sometimes they were natural holes or partly so, but 
oftenest artificially made. Mr. James Munn, the old weaver in Kilchattan, 
pointed out three, one of which he had made himself”. The boulder near 
Kilcatrine church had a hole in one side of it, like the barley knocking 
stones; it was said to have been the priest’s baptismal font. It was near this 
boulder that the pear-shaped stone which was turned in a piece of pavement 
was lying. 

I have not found any references in Ireland to rock-basins in large 
boulders being used for preparing food (unless perhaps it was basins of this 
type that Kinahan was referring to). Heavy stones like the knocking stones 
described by Mitchell and Curwen are found in Ireland, especially in the 
north, but they are not as common as the rock-basin. I think, however, that 
we are entitled to take into consideration the evidence from Scottish islands 
where primitive practices survived down to recent times; investigations into 
old customs there were carried out in the past more realistically than in 
Ireland; there is no Irish work to correspond to Martin’s Western Islands, 
which was published in 1703. No evidence exists either in Scotland or in 

60 Prehistoric Ireland (1951), p. 50. 

61 Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., xxxiv (1899-1900) 481. Colonsay: ibid., xv (1880-1) 132; 
for the stone at Kilca'trine, see above, p. 173. 



Ireland to show that rock-basins were used in antiquity for preparing food; 
but the accounts that have been given of their use for making pot barley 
and for mashing potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables in a number of 
remote districts and islands of Scotland suggest that the custom was once 
more widespread. 

In Wales, rock-basins are very rare, according to a writer who describes 
one near Carmarthen, at a place called Parc y Ceryg Sanctaidd (‘the field 
ol the holy stones’), the water from which, according to tradition, was 
sprinkled on coffins at funerals; he notes another one, a flat recumbent 
stone with two cups, at Pendine Head, Carmarthenshire. 62 The stone at 
Gogofau, in the same county, has been mentioned above. One wonders 
whether the scarcity of such stones could have anything to do with the fact 
that very few remains of early monastic sites have been preserved in Wales; 
for instance, no trace has been found of the monastery of Bangor, or of St. 
Cadog’s monastic settlement at Llancarfan or St. Illtud’s at Llantwit Major. 

There is a curious stone at Llanthony in Monmouthshire with three 
small basins 4 to 5 ins. in diameter and 2\ to 3 ins. deep; 63 but the stone 
has been carefully cut to shape, and it could not, in its present form, be 
regarded as a basin stone of the ‘bullaun’ type. Possibly it was a piscina. 

Unlike Scotland, stone basins do not seem to have been used for any 
purpose in recent times in Wales. Many rough stone mortars like knocking 
stones, however, are known from old settlement sites. A collection of 
mortars, quern stones, and stone pounders from Holy Island, off Anglesea, 
is shown in the illustration (Plate XIV 1) which I have reproduced from 
Bennett and Elton’s book; it may be compared with the illustration of 
Scottish stones found in the brochs at Keiss, Caithness. 64 Stone mortars are 
also found on late Roman sites in Britain. One is shown among the Roman 
mortaria in the British Museum. I have seen another among the mortaria 
in the Museum at Chesters in Northumberland which has a bowl 8 or 9 
inches in diameter. There are also in this Museum two large stones with 
deep basins, and there is another large stone like them outside the settle- 
ment which adjoins the Roman fort at Housesteads; the bowl in this one 
appears to have been chiselled out (Plate XIV 2). 

The mortarium of coarse pottery is an object which turns up in great 
quantities at Roman sites. It was a kitchen utensil, and its use in Roman 
Britain for preparing food must have been universal. These mortars were 
either imported from Gaul or else came from some of the numerous places 
in Britain where pottery was manufactured. After the barbarian invasions 
and general disorder of the 4th and 5th centuries in Britain and Gaul the 
supply of pottery mortaria must have come to an end, but mortars were 
still wanted, and the local people evidently made stone ones for themselves 
in Wales and elsewhere. 

62 Archaeol. Cambrensis, 6th Ser. vii (1907) 269, 272. Gogofau: above, p. 168. 

63 ibid 4th Ser. viii (1877), figure facing p. 153. 

64 History of Corn Milling, vol. I, p. 1. Keiss: Journal, xxix (1899) 341. 


The mortarium was perhaps meant to be fitted into a hole in a table 
or into a wooden stand. Some stone mortars imitate its shape more or less. 
Other roughly made ones were found fixed in the ground, which would of 
course keep them steady if materials were being pounded in them. The 
large roughly shaped stone at Housesteads was heavy enough to stand 
firmly by itself, like the Scottish knocking stones; such stones, though very 
unwieldy, had the advantage that they could if necessary be moved from 
one place to another. 

Many stone mortars are known from post-Roman sites in Anglesea. 
What is more interesting for the study of rock-basins is that two examples 
have been recorded of a large block of stone having a basin made in it 
after it had ceased to be used for its original purpose. One is a stone which 
was found by Wheeler in the course of his excavation of the ruins of the 
Roman fort of Segontium (the modern Carnarvon). It is a column capital 
in which a basin has been hollowed out for use as a mortar; it was found 
on a 4th century floor. 65 The basin appears to be 6 or 7 ins. in diameter. 
Plate XIV 3, which is copied from the photograph in the report, shows the 
stone. The other stone was found in the Roman fort at Caerhun, near 
Carnarvon; it is described as a broken Roman column capital hollowed 
out, probably in Romano-British times, to form a mortar. No dimensions 
are given. 66 

Thus there is some evidence for the existence in the post-Roman period 
in Britain of basins hollowed out in large stones, as well as of mortars. I 
would suggest that these are the ancestors of the rock-basin and the 
knocking stone. Over most of the country they must in the course of time 
have been replaced by the ordinary domestic mortar which was in use in 
every house; as Lacaille says, “for centuries the preparation in mortars of 
home necessaries and food for animals was part of household and farmstead 
routine”. But these were carefully made vessels, and they did not reach the 
remote localities where Mitchell and others found the knocking stone and 
the rock-basin; the people there went on using primitive appliances, perhaps 
through conservatism, but probably chiefly as a result of poverty. 

In Ireland, however, there are no Roman settlements; what then 
have Roman mortars got to do with Irish ‘bullauns’? The answer may be 
'that the ‘bullauns’ served the same purpose. My suggestion is that the 
basins were made in imitation of the mortars of post-Roman Britain, and 
that they were intended for the preparation of food. In that case, who made 
them? Here the remarkable concentration of rock-basins at Glendalough 
seems significant, as well as the frequent occurrence of ‘bullauns’ at old 
church sites. I suggest that it was early Christian immigrants coming from 
Britain to Irish monastic communities who introduced the basins into 
Ireland for use as mortars. 

65 Y Cymmrodor, xxxiii (1923) Fig. 51, and p. 129. 

63 Archaeol. Cambrensis, 7th Ser. v (1925) 321. 



British Christian slaves are mentioned in the life of one of the early 
Irish saints; 67 but there are also several references to British monks in the 
Lives. For example, a story in the life of Munnu of Taghmon, who died in 
635, tells that a monk of British race lived in Munnu’s community; he was 
a skilled carpenter and made wagons and other utensils for the brethren. 68 
Sanctan, the bishop who had a church at Kilmosanctan in Glenasmole, is 
said to have been a Briton. In general, to quote Kenney, “the occurrence 
of an exodus to Ireland of Britons, especially of the clergy and learned 
classes, as a result of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, is not an unreasonable 
hypothesis”; and he speaks of the Church in Ireland as developing its 
ecclesiastical system in close relationship with the Christian Britons. 69 
The Rev. J. Ryan, S.J., writes to the same effect: “We may regard it 
. . . as certain that in the opening half of the sixth century the relation 
between the [British and Irish] churches was largely that of master and 
disciple”. Again, “The tradition of both countries is at one in declaring 
that in the sixth century the Irish were the borrowers”. 70 He is speaking 
of matters of liturgy and ecclesiastical organisation, but it seems reason- 
able to suppose that, as well as Christian teaching, the British introduced 
features of ordinary Roman civilised life into the country. According to 
tradition, St. Modomnoc of Tibraghny, who was a pupil of St. David in 
the sixth century, introduced bees into Ireland. 71 Whether the statement 
of Solinus that bees were not known in Ireland is true or not, this story 
shows that there was nothing strange in the idea that new refinements of 
life were brought from Britain at the time when there were very close 
contacts between Wales and eastern Ireland. 

If people who hollowed out basins in the capitals of fallen columns 
in ruined Roman towns wanted to make mortars when they came to 
Ireland, where there were no such ruined buildings, why should they not 
use some of the boulders that were lying about everywhere? 

If we suppose that Christians from Britain made the rock-basins for 
use as mortars, it would suggest that they had ways of preparing food 
which were not in use in Ireland at that early period. What information 
have we about the food that was used in Ireland in the sixth century, or 
about the way it was prepared? As regards mortars, very little seems to 
be known about them. The only recent records of mortars that I have 
found are in the excavation reports of the crannogs of Lagore and Ballin- 
derry no. 2; these are four rather flat stones with very shallow bowls 
about 1 in. deep. 72 Their date is not certain; they are not earlier than the 
7th century and may be later. They do not look as if they were meant 

c7 Ailbe : Plummer, V.S.H. i p. 47. 

6S V.S.H. ii p. 237; and see i p. cxxiv. 

69 77;e Sources for the Early History of Ireland, p. 171. 

70 Irish Monasticism, pp. 108, 114. 

7l Martyrology of Oengus, Feb. 13. 

72 Ballinderry, P.R.I.A. 47 (1942) 65; Lagore, P.R.I.A 53 (1950) 174. 

Plate XI] [To face page 180 

Bullauns \ Glendalough 

Plate XII] 

[To face page 181 

Photo : F. Henry. 
1. Derrybawn, Glendalough 

Photo : R. Barton. 

2 . Drumray 

Photo : G. Stacpoole. 

3. Derrylossary 

Co. Wicklow 

Photo : L. P. 

4. Crehelp 

Photos : A. Farrington. 

5, 6. Glassamucky, Co. Dublin 

Plate XIII] 

[To face page 180 

Photo : A. Lucas. 
2 . Tobermacduach 

Photo : G. Stacpoole. 

4 . Doughnambraher 

3. Greek Vase 
after RIG 1918, p 19. 

Photo : F. Henry. 
1. Kilmalkedar 

Plate XIV] 

[To face page 181 

1. Mortars from Anglesea 
after History of Corn Milling 

Photo : R. Going. 

2. Housesteads, Northumberland 

3. Roman capital re-used as a mortar 
from Y Cymmrodor, vol. xxxiii. 


for pounding grain or vegetables. I have not found any account in 
Ireland of mortars of the Anglesea type which are shown in Plate XIV 1. 

Documentary sources would hardly be likely to describe how food 
was prepared or to tell us what utensils people had. There is a story in 
the life of St. Kevin which might refer to a rock-basin, but it is not 
concerned with food. A smith belonging to the community was one day 
grinding a stone in a mortella when a chip broke off and flew up and 
blinded one of his eyes. Its sight was miraculously restored at the saint’s 
prayer. 73 Mortella is a rare word which is believed to mean a mortar. It 
is possible that here it is used in the sense of a rock-basin, like those that 
are to be seen in the boulders at Glendalough. 

Joyce gives an elaborate description of the food used in ancient 
Ireland, but he has only a few early references; they are to the 7th 
century (Adamnan, Muirchu). 74 St. Jerome’s contemptuous reference to 
Pelagius as ‘Scotorum pultibus praegravatus’ (written about 415-6) cannot 
be regarded as evidence about the food of the Irish at that time; it is 
only Jerome’s emphatic way of calling him a clumsy primitive barbarian; 
puls was the word Latin writers used to describe the food of the primitive 
Romans. He had previously said the Scoti were cannibals; he calls them 
a British race. 75 

I cannot point to anything in the Irish sources that would directly 
support the suggestion that the basins in ‘bullaun’ stones were used for 
preparing food. What we know of the use of mortars in other countries, 
however, seems to show that this may have been what rock-basins were 
intended for. Bennett and Elton’s History of Corn Milling deals at some 
length with the use of mortars in antiquity for grinding and pounding 
grain; corn continued to be pounded in them right down to the first 
century A.D. in Rome, and, as Curwen says, they could be used for 
pounding roots and vegetables as well as small grain. A poem attributed 
to Virgil describes a peasant crushing herbs in a mortar to prepare a 
particular kind of food, moretum, which was a savoury dish made of 
garlic, herbs, cheese, honey, etc., mashed up into a paste. 76 The rock- 
basin could very well have been used for making this sort of a dish. 

Bennett and Elton quote a statement of Pliny’s that in his day when 
corn was scarce acorns were ground and made into a kind of bread in 
Spain and other countries. Coming to recent times, they give a long 
description of the way the Yosemite Indians in North America prepared 
acorns for food; they hulled them and ground them into flour, and 

73 V.S.H. i p. 241. 

' 4 Social History of Ancient Ireland, ii 104-158. 

75 Kenney, loc. cit. pp. 138, 162. St. Jerome said he had seen the Scoti in Gaul. 
As Kenney says, probably they were captives, or else barbarian auxiliaries enrolled in 
the Roman army. 

76 Moretum: quoted in Bennett and Elton, I, p. 99. Curwen calls it “something 
suspiciously like a haggis”: Antiquity XI (1937) 140. 



treated this with boiling water to remove the bitterness; when sweet the 
flour was cooked and made into cakes. 77 Acorns are mentioned several 
times in the Irish Annals (e.g., habundantia dairmesa, AU 769). They 
were, of course, fed to pigs but one may suppose that in times of scarcity 
they were used for human food. Tacitus says that they were ground into 
meal in Gaul. Here the rock-basins might have been used, not only for 
the grinding, but also for removing the hull or outer skin. 

More curious is an account of the use in Norway of crushed elm- 
bark for making a substitute for bread during times of famine. The bark 
was peeled from young branches not more than 2 or 3 years old, and it 
was dried and ground into meal, after the primary bark {cortex) had been 
removed with a knife. The writer suggests that the Vikings or the Anglo- 
Saxons might have introduced this elm-bark bread into Great Britain and 
Ireland, where famines often occurred. 78 

The rock-basin could have been used for crushing beech nuts, or for 
pulping the vegetable known as meacan; this meant any edible root; it is 
glossed radix in the early glosses. It would be misleading to think of it as 
being like our parsnips or carrots; some of the roots used in the sixth 
century must have been very coarse and hard. Praiseach, meaning pottage 
or porridge, is derived from brassica, the Latin word for cabbage. There 
is a story in the notes to the Martyrology of Oengus about St. Columba 
in Iona eating praiseach made of nettles. Nettles were a common article 
of food, though in the time of the writer of the story (perhaps 12th 
century) the idea evidently was that only poor people would eat them. 
They might have been pounded in rock-basins. Hazel nuts were a 
common food, and we have evidence of their early use in Ireland, for 
they were found with cereal grains in the course of the excavation of the 
burial cairn at Baltinglass Hill, Co. Wicklow. 79 They might have been 
ground into a paste, perhaps with wild garlic and cheese or butter, some- 
thing like the way the peasant made his moretum. 

The Scottish islanders used the knocking stones and rock-basins for 
removing the husks from barley. Barley is recorded from the Bronze Age 
in Ireland. 80 It was grown from a very early period in Britain. It would 
appear, however, that soon after the end of the Roman period in Britain 
a change took place in the species of barley that was grown, as a result 
of which some method of removing the husks may have come into use. 

A study of grain impressions in prehistoric pottery, and of finds of 
carbonised cereals, has been carried out in Britain and Ireland by two 

77 History of Corn Milling, I, pp. 5, 115. 

78 R. Nordhagen, Ethnobotanical studies on barkbread, pp. 303-4, in Studies in 
Vegetational History in honour of Knud lessen (Copenhagen, 1954). I am obliged to 
Mr. G. F. Mitchell, F.T.C.D., for giving me the reference to this article. 1 , 

79 P.R.I.A. 46C (1941) 227. 

8°G. F. Mitchell, P.R.I.A. 55B (1953) 277. 


Danish scholars. 81 Their tabulated statements show firstly, that through- 
out the period investigated barley was the commonest grain, and 
secondly, that there was a change in the period after the late Bronze Age 
in the species of barley that was cultivated. 

They record 335 impressions of barley grains out of a total number 
of 426, and they point out (p. 42) that “in the British-Irish finds naked 
barley has yielded much the greater number of the impressions in the 
early finds, whereas hulled barley prevails in the finds from the time 
after the Late Bronze Age. . . . From Anglo-Saxon times impressions of 
only three grains of naked barley compared with 80 of hulled barley 
have been seen”. This is paralleled in Denmark, where “naked barley is 
still dominant in the Pre-Roman Iron Age, but it becomes markedly in 
the minority in the Roman Iron Age”. 

The figures they give for Ireland are small (naked barley 33, hulled 
barley 2). The two impressions of hulled barley were found on a food- 
vessel from Jamestown, Kiltiernan, Co. Dublin, on which there were also 
four impressions of naked barley. 

Professor M. J. Gorman has kindly explained to me that the 
difference between the two species is, that in naked barley the kernel falls 
out of the hulls naturally and freely at maturity, while in hulled barley 
the grain consists of the kernel firmly enclosed by the hulls, and the 
hulls have to be removed by some mechanical treatment. 

The growing of hulled barley would mean that less grain would be 
wasted in the fields, but it would be necessary to have some way of 
removing the husks. It would seem from Jessen and Helbaek’s investigation 
that it was in the post-Roman period in Britain that the growing of hulled 
barley became general. At this time stone mortars were in use, and the 
descriptions of the use of knocking stones show that the dehusking could 
have been done by pounding it in mortars; so British Christians may have 
been in the habit of using mortars for the purpose. This is the time at which 
it is supposed that an exodus of British clergy and others to Irish 
monasteries was taking place. Hulled barley apparently existed in Ireland, 
though less commonly than the other kind. They might have made it a 
more widely known crop. In any case, if they needed to remove the husks 
from barley, it seems reasonable to suggest that they may have made basins 
in ‘bullaun’ stones in order to do it. 

The basins could also have been used for grinding grain, in the same 
way as it was ground in mortars before querns came into general use. There 
were, of course, querns at Glendalough; Plate XI 2 shows a large one. But 
in the sixth century they may still have been comparatively rare and expen- 
sive implements, and it may have been the rock-basin that was ordinarily 

81 Jessen and Helbaek. Cereals in Great Britain and Ireland in Prehistoric and 
Early Historic Times, D. Kgl. Danske Vidensk. Selskab. Biol. Skrifter, III 2 (1944). 
Also Helbaek, Early Crops in Southern England, Proc. Prehist. Soc. XVIII (1952) 194. 
The figures for all grain impressions recorded from Ireland are, Eincorn or Emmer, 13 
(all Neolithic): Barley, 35 (nearly all Bronze Age). 



used. Bennett and Elton's explanation seems to me to be convincing when, 
speaking of “the mystery” of St. Bridget’s Stone at Blacklion (the so-called 
cursing stone), they say, “we may recognise in the relic nothing more than 
the common mealing stone of the early settlement on the site of 
Killinagh”. 82 

Perhaps the introduction of the quern may explain how it came about 
that as early as the 1 2th century some of the rock-basins were supposed to 
have supernatural powers. They may have ceased to be used for any kind 
of grinding as soon as the use of rotary querns became general. Once a 
rock-basin was abandoned, it would fill with water, and belief in the 
healing properties of the water might give rise to legend. It is difficult to say 
when rotary querns became common, but it must have been fairly early. At 
Cahercommaun, Co. Clare, a stone fort of ninth century date, two upper 
stones and 33 fragments of rotary querns were found; there were also 6 
saddle querns, but nothing in the nature of a mortar. 83 

Besides the great number of ‘bullaun’ stones at Glendalough itself, 
which Crawford commented on, there seems to be an unusual number in 
the surrounding lands which belonged to the monastery. What is known 
about the places where these stones are found suggests that it may have 
been the Glendalough monks who spread the use of them through the 
district. Killafeen, where there are two stones, is near the place where one 
of the roads to Glendalough crossed the river; the monks there belonged to 
St. Kevin’s monastery, and according to the Irish Lives they supplied him 
with food. At Ballinabarny the Ordnance Map shows ‘Site of Monastery’. 
There are no remains at the site, and no local traditions; but it is only half 
a mile from the stone at Ballintombay Lower called ‘the wart stone’, which 
has been described as being in Ballinabarny. I believe it is the place to 
which the Lives say St. Kevin sent Cellach the monk. It is probable that 
this stone and the other stones in Ballintombay mark the site of Cellach’s 
hermitage, Cill Cheallaigh, and that this also was an outlying settlement of 
monks from Glendalough. 

In the townland of Drummin there are five stones on the high ground 
called Drumray, and another a short distance to the east, near a spot which 
is known as St. Kevin’s road. Mr. R. C. Barton kindly informs me that 

82 It may be of interest to note lessen and Helbaek’s general statements on the 
subject of wheat: “From Ireland no evidence is known so far of prehistoric wheat” 
(1944, p. 38): “all over southern England . . . impressions and carbonized grains of 
Emmer, Spelt, Naked barley (especially), and Hulled barley” were found to have 
been recorded as Bread Wheat (1952, p. 201). They mention “specimens of grain” 
from Baltinglass Hill (1944, p. 11), but do not identify them, although in the 
Excavation Report (supra, note 79) the carbonised grain found there is described as 
Triticam vulgar e (wheat). Pending further investigation it is perhaps safer not to rely 
on this find as evidence that Bread Wheat was grown in ancient Ireland. More 
recently, however, impressions of Bread Wheat on a food vessel are reported from 
Fourknocks (Hartnett, Excavation of a Passage Grave at Fourknocks, P R. I. A. 58C 
(1957) p. 259). Oats are not recorded at all from Ireland by lessen and Helbaek, nor 
from Britain before the Early Iron Age. 

83 H. Hencken, Cahercommaun, p. 60. 


there are marks of old tillage and field banks on Drumray, and that 
although he has been trying for many years to find out when the ridge was 
cultivated, no traditions about it have been preserved even by the oldest 
men in the district, though they still remember who the people were who 
grew potatoes and oats on the high slopes of the other hills around more 
than 100 years ago, before the famine. The name St. Kevin’s road, I believe, 
marks part of an old track which led over the mountain by Killalane south- 
westwards to Glendalough. I suggest that these stones, and the stone at 
Killalane, show that some of the monks established themselves near the old 
road, and that the place where they settled at Drumray was inhabited for 
many centuries afterwards. It might be the same as the place called 
Cnockre, where one of the followers of Phelim McFeagh O’Toole of 
Castlekevin lived in 1601; the marks of tillage may be vestiges remaining 
from the early 17th century. 84 

There is a persistent local tradition that St. Kevin lived for a time near 
Lough Tay, and it has been said that there were ruins of a monastery in the 
Luggala valley. No trace is to be seen there of any such building, and the 
Lives contain nothing which would support the tradition. The double 
‘bullaun’ at Cloghoge, however, is about half a mile south of Lough Tay in 
the valley between Luggala and Lough Dan. If there was a settlement of 
monks from Glendalough at this place, it would account for the tradition 
that St. Kevin had lived in the valley. The actual site might have been 
forgotten; this stone might be the only thing remaining to mark it. 

The monks in such settlements, who were no doubt in search of 
solitude and the ascetic life, had to provide themselves with food. Perhaps 
they also helped to supply the parent monastery. When the great monastic 
orders were established in Ireland at a much later date, granges were set up 
on their lands and farmed by the monks. Is it too far-fetched to suppose 
that the men at the head of our early monasteries had some similar way of 
obtaining meal or other provisions from these little outlying communities? 

I have suggested that the Glendalough ‘bullauns’ were made by 
British Christians. But it may be objected that St. Kevin had no contacts 
with Britain. There is no tradition of his having studied in Britain or of 
British saints having visited Glendalough. 85 

The Irish Life does have a reference to Britain: “many kings and 
chiefs among the kings of Ireland and of Britain chose to be buried in 
Glendalough”. This may be only a way of saying how important the 
monastery was; it may have no significance. It is not said, however, of any 

84 Place-Names of Co. Wicklow, Ballinacor North, p. 36 (Killafeen): p. 16 (Cill 
Cheallaigh): p. 35 (Drumray, Cnockre). 

85 Ussher, in a passage to which Miss Henry has kindly drawn my attention, says 
that Coemgen (St. Kevin), according to the writer of his Life, received instruction 
from his 7th to his 12th year from St. Petroc of Cornwall (. Britannicarum Ecclesiarum 
Antiquitates, c. xvii : Ussher’s Works, ed. Elrington, VI (1831) p. 83). There is 
nothing to this effect in any of the five known versions of the Life of Coemgen. Petroc 
was a British saint who is said to have spent 20 years in Ireland. 



of the other well known cemeteries; this is the only place in the saints’’ 
Lives, so far as I know, where such a claim is made. The Life of St. 
Carthach lays stress on the great numbers of British who came to be monks 
with him, but nothing to this effect is said about his place of burial. 

It would be a mistake, however, to confine ourselves to what we are 
told about St. Kevin, when trying to investigate the early history of 
Glendalough. Other saints have a part in the story; St. Berach is one. Later 
tradition does not connect him with Glendalough, and St. Kevin’s Life does 
not mention him; but St. Berach’s Life attributes to him several of St. 
Kevin’s miracles, such as the rescue of the king’s son, Faelan, from the 
druidesses. St. Kevin was established in tradition as the patron saint by the 
time the Life of Berach was composed, and Berach is represented as being 
under his direction; but the “mighty works” are Berach’s. The demons 
could not be cast out till he came, and “no power of demons, nor plague, 
nor punishment shall be there so long as Berach’s bell shall be therein”. He 
leaves “pre-eminence of learning and devotion” in Glendalough. 

We would know nothing about this if St. Berach’s Life had not 
preserved an account of it. One of St. Maedog’s miracles is also attributed 
to him. There is no mention of British monks in his Life. He is principally 
a Connaught saint. His death is not mentioned in the Annals. Plummer 
suggests that he lived in the latter part of the 6th and the early 7th century. 

Maedog, one of the saints who is particularly connected by tradition 
with Britain, died in 626. He may have had something to do with 
Glendalough. His Life tells of his promising aid to Brandubh, king of 
Leinster, before the battle of Dun Bolg, which took place in 598. There is a 
long saga about this battle, which was of course composed at a much later 
date, and in it he is called Aedain bishop of Glendalough. 86 It seems un- 
satisfactory to explain this merely as a mistake; the connection of Maedog 
with Ferns was well known, and Glendalough has nothing to do with the 
story. The saga contains a certain amount of old traditional material, and 
it may here have preserved a recollection of some connection between 
Maedog and Glendalough, of which we otherwise know nothing. 

St. Moling, who died in 697, was also at Glendalough, but this must 
have been at a later period. 

For Christians coming from Britain to south-eastern Ireland in the 6th 
century Glendalough was as favourably placed as, for example, Taghmon 
or Clonard. The lack of record of such a movement can hardly, I think, be 
taken as proving that men from Britain did not come there. 

It may be as well to stress, what is of course obvious to anyone who 
reads these remarks, that the theory I have put forward is only surmise. 
That ‘bullauns’ were mortars, used for preparing food, is a conjecture based 
on general considerations, in the absence of historical facts. Even traditions 
about them come, with one or two exceptions, from recent times. I have 

8 fi Ll. facs. 301 a 28. 


therefore tried to bring together any miscellaneous bits of information 
which could have any bearing on the subject. These ‘bullaun’ stones are 
such curious objects, and notes about them not only at Glendalough but 
all over the country have been published so often, that to try even by guess- 
work to explain their nature and purpose may be legitimate. 


A list is given of about 30 ‘bullaun’ stones at Glendalough, and about 
25 within a few miles of it on the former monastic lands. ‘Bullaun’ stones 
are found in all parts of Ireland, very often associated with old church 

Local traditions exist about many of them; the water in them is said to 
cure diseases, and the basins have been used for cursing by turning stones 
in them. 

In most cases the basins have been artificially made, but natural basins 
are sometimes found, especially in limestone. 

Stones with similar basins have been used in recent times in remote 
parts of Scotland for pounding barley and for crushing vegetables. 

It has been suggested that the traditions connected with ‘bullauns’ 
indicate that they are of prehistoric origin, but this seems very doubtful; 
similar traditions exist about stones which are not ‘bullauns’. Stories about 
their curative powers are probably due to the water in them. 

They have been described as baptismal fonts, but they do not seem 
suitable for this purpose. 

It has often been said that they were mortars. This seems to have 
more probability. 

Stone mortars were used in post-Roman times in Britain for preparing 
food. Column-capitals fallen from Roman buildings have been used as 
mortars by having basins made in them. 

Christians from post-Roman Britain are believed to have come to Irish 
monasteries in considerable numbers. They may have brought with them 
methods of preparing food which were not in use in Ireland. 

‘Bullauns’ could have been used like mortars for crushing various 
foodstuffs as well as for grinding cereals. A new species of barley, which 
had to be ground or pounded to remove the grain from the husk, came 
into general use in post-Roman times. It could have been pounded in 
‘bullauns’; the stone basins in Scotland were used for this purpose. 

It is suggested that the Irish ‘bullauns’ were mortars, and that the 
basins were made by people coming from Britain in early Christian times 
and were used for preparing food. 

A cknowledgements 

I am most grateful for help received in the preparation of this 
paper, both to those I have already mentioned, and, in particular, to Miss 
G. C. Stacpoole, who mapped out the stones at Glendalough for me and 
helped me to locate several of them, and who also gave me most of the 
photographs used to illustrate the paper: also to Miss F. Henry, D.-es-L., 



and Mr. A. T. Lucas, both of whom have offered helpful suggestions and 
criticisms; to Mr. R. C. Barton, who showed me a number of the stones 
and gave me much local information about them: and to Dr. A. Farrington 
and Lt.-Col. R. Going for the photographs of the stones at Glassamucky 
and Housesteads. I have also to acknowledge permission kindly given to 
me to reproduce photographs by Messrs. T. H. Mason & Sons, Ltd., for 
Plate XI 2 (stones in St. Kevin’s House), and by the Honourable Society of 
Cymmrodorion and Sir Mortimer Wheeler for Plate XIV 3 (Roman capital 
re-used as a mortar), which is reproduced from Y Cymmrodor, Vol. 
XXXIII (1923), ‘Segontium and the Roman Occupation of Wales’, Fig. 51, 
facing p. 129. I am obliged to Mr. C. O Cuileanain for the illustration 
(Fig. 2) of the stone at Aghowle, Co. Wicklow. 

Plate XV] [To face page 189 

A Linear B tablet from Knossos 
(So 894 = Ventris and Chadwick, Documents, no. 278). 

(By courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). 




By Donald M. Nicol 

REEK history in the factual sense may be said to begin in the eighth 

century. In 776 B.C. the first Olympic Games were held, and this 
event was taken to symbolise the beginnings of recorded history by the 
Classical Greeks; for it was traditionally about that time (though 
probably much earlier) that the Greek alphabet was invented — or rather 
adapted — from the Phoenician alphabet, from which ultimately all the 
great alphabets of Europe, the Greek, the Latin and the Slavonic, derive. 
Armed with a fluent and tractable means of expressing their thoughts 
the Greeks after the eighth century were able to record their history and 
achieve that special kind of self-consciousness as a people which such an 
ability imparts. But what of the Greeks before 776 B.C.? For no one 
supposed that the Hellenes (to give them their proper title) sprang out 
of the ground early in the eighth century. Concerning the ages before 
recorded history there were traditions, legends, even perhaps a few sur- 
vivals in the way of customs or religious ritual, where the human mind is 
most conservative. There were particularly epic poems, describing in some 
detail a great war between the Greeks and the Trojans and its aftermath, 
telling of a great kingdom in Greece whose inhabitants were the 
‘Achaeans’ and whose capital was Mycenae “rich in gold”, ruled by 
Agamemnon, and hinting darkly at a strange Empire or ‘thalassocracy’ 
centred in the island of Crete and with its capital at Knossos, where 
lived the Minotaur in his labyrinth. The legends of this lost ‘Heroic Age’ 
had been kept alive through the centuries by bards whose purpose was to 
sing of great deeds for the amusement and edification of the aristocracy: 
and like the Celtic bards these poets were gifted with prodigious 
memories, for they could write nothing down, being ignorant of the art 
of writing. The greatest and perhaps the last of these was Homer himself; 
and when the oral tradition of epic song died out, the two great poems of 
Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, were committed to writing. The 
account which Homer gives of the Heroic Age of his race (which is in 
fact the prehistoric age of Greece and the Aegean world) is not, of course, 
accurate history. It stands at the receiving end of a long line of oral 
tradition, and betrays all the anomalies and paradoxes which one would 
expect from such an account of a forgotten civilisation. The truth, in 

I'Ventris & Chadwick, Documents in Mycenaean Greek; Cambridge Univ. Press, 
1956. J. Chadwick, The Decipherment of Linear B; Cambridge, 1958 



passing from mouth to mouth, becomes distorted, exaggerated and mis- 
represented. The Classical Greeks seldom thought to check or verify the 
stories of Homer, either by applying a sort of higher criticism, or by the 
archaeological method of searching for material evidence of the lost world 
of Mycenae. 

Archaeology as a science for supplying or correcting the defects of 
history is a comparatively modern invention. Consequently, in later ages 
it was for long supposed that Homer’s stories were nothing but myth, 
bearing either as much or as little relationship to the prehistory of Greece 
or Troy as the Nibelungenlied or Grimms’ Fairy Tales to the history of 
Germany. The first man to question this unproved supposition was the 
nineteenth-century German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. Schliemann 
was something of a poet, and he was so fired by his readings of Homer 
that he persuaded himself that the Homeric tradition must have a basis 
of fact, that if he dug below the soil at the site of Troy or Mycenae he 
would uncover mortal remains of the kingdom of Priam or Agamemnon. 
The scholarly world, which often takes itself very seriously, was pro- 
foundly sceptical of Schliemann’s romantic notions, the more so since he 
was an amateur and not a professional scholar. Such scepticism, however, 
received a rude shock when Schliemann, using his Homer as a Baedeker, 
unearthed first the remains of a whole series of prehistoric cities at Troy 
in Asia Minor, and then in 1876 excavated the now famous grave circle 
at Mycenae in Greece. The evidence of civilisation and material wealth 
found at both of these sites (dating from many centuries before the Iron 
Age) opened up a whole new realm of prehistory and a whole new field 
of scholarship. It also gave the Homeric legends an entirely new 
significance. Homer had said that Mycenae was “rich in gold”; and in 
the royal shaft graves Schliemann found gold enough to convince anybody 
that in this particular Homer had not nodded. His excavations at the site 
of Tiryns nearby lent further weight to the factual basis, however remote 
and distorted, of the Homeric tradition. 

The characteristics of the civilisation unearthed at Mycenae and 
Tiryns, however, were strangely un-Greek in appearance. Fragments of 
fresco-painting and of pottery in great quantities emerged which had no 
apparent connexion with the earliest-known Greek art of the Classical 
age, or indeed with any other art forms of the Mediterranean area. 
Further, the wealth of Mycenae, in gold and silver, bronze and precious 
stones, pre-supposed an extensive commerce with all the means of trade; 
for Mycenae itself lies, as Homer says, tucked away “in a fold of the 
horse-rearing plain of Argos”. It has no ready access to gold or silver, 
or even to the copper and tin required to make bronze. An extensive 
commerce by land and sea made it seem likely that the Mycenaeans must 
have had some knowledge of writing, if only for the purpose of keeping 
accounts and records of transactions : but of this Schliemann found no 
evidence. However, one of the scholars who had been impressed by 
Schliemann’s excavations, an Englishman called Arthur (later Sir Arthur) 



Evans, was inspired to pursue this line of inquiry. While pottering around 
in the antique shops of Athens, Evans came across a number of very 
ancient engraved gems or seal-stones, carved with symbols and figures, 
some of which appeared to be a form of writing or hieroglyphic 
characters, but of a type not known anywhere else in the Levant. He 
discovered that these came from the island of Crete, where peasant 
women, recognising the special magic of very ancient objects, were in the 
habit of wearing them round their necks as charms or ‘milk-stones’. It 
was as a result of this discovery that Evans was led to begin his famous 
excavations in Crete — at Knossos, which according to Homer, and also 
to the more respectable historian Thucydides, had been the site of the 
royal palace (or labyrinth) of King Minos, and the capital of a flourish- 
ing empire and civilisation in the dim ages. What Evans was looking for 
was further evidence of a pre-Greek script or writing: and he was 
rewarded almost at once by the discovery of more engraved gems and 
also of clay tablets inscribed in a different form of script. But these finds 
soon became incidental to the major work of uncovering a whole con- 
glomeration (almost literally a labyrinth) of buildings constituting a palace 
at Knossos. Here obviously was the residence of King Minos, or of the 
dynasty of Minos; and for want of a better name the civilisation of which 
it was the centre was called ‘Minoan’. The archaeological evidence showed 
that this Minoan civilisation was a great deal older than that of Mycenae, 
although there were obvious connexions between the two, not least in 
styles of art and pottery. Evans’s excavations at Knossos had therefore 
pushed back the beginnings of this prehistoric age of the Aegean to a 
much earlier date, and it was clear that the Minoan civilisation preceded 
that of Mycenae, but was connected with it, and latterly ran concurrently 
with it. Since, from the available evidence, it appeared that neither the 
Minoan nor the Mycenaean civilisation was related to that of Classical 
Greece, they were collectively termed ‘pre-Hellenic’ : and the Cretans and 
Mycenaeans of the Bronze Age were labelled as non-Greeks and convicted 
of un-Greek activities. 

After Evans’s pioneer work at Knossos, excavations elsewhere in 
Crete opened up new centres of this Minoan civilisation, notably at 
Phaistos on the south coast of the island: and further Bronze Age or 
Mycenaean sites were explored on the Greek mainland. Finally some 
definite chronological order was established for the development of the 
Minoan-Mycenaean culture between the years 3000 and 1100 B.C. This 
period was divided into Early Bronze Age (2800-1900), Middle Bronze 
Age (1900-1600) and Late Bronze Age (1600-1100); and the divisions 
were referred to as Early Minoan, Middle Minoan and Late Minoan in 
Crete, and Early Helladic, Middle Helladic and Late Helladic (or 
Mycenaean) in Greece. The most flourishing period of Cretan civilisation 
began in the Middle Bronze Age (or Middle Minoan) and lasted until 
1400 B.C., when the royal palace at Knossos, and with it the whole of 
Minoan civilisation, was abruptly and violently destroyed and brought to 



an end by what can only be described as enemy action. The greatest 
period of Mycenaean culture, on the other hand, begins in the Late Bronze 
Age (or Late Mycenaean), outlives (and indeed benefits from) the destruc- 
tion of Crete in 1400, and lasts at least until the twelfth century B.C., in 
the course of which it also is destroyed and disappears into obscurity, 
leaving only memories and the stuff that epic poems are made of. 

The end of the Mycenaean kingdoms in Greece can be at least 
tentatively explained: for it was in the twelfth century B.C. and onwards 
that the Greek-speaking tribes known as the Dorians immigrated into 
Greece from the north. And it was the ‘Dorian invasions’ (known to later 
legend as the ‘return of the Heraclidae’) which gradually blotted out the 
Mycenaean civilisation. The Dorians ushered in the Iron Age of Greece, 
and introduced an era of dissolution and darkness over the whole Greek 
world similar to the Dark Age of Western Europe which followed the 
barbarian invasions of the fifth century A.D. It was that Dark Age of 
Greece which effectively cut off the Mycenaean from the Classical period 
of Greek history; and it was in that Dark Age that the memory of 
Mycenae and a forgotten Heroic period was preserved and handed down 
in epic song. But why, long before this, did Crete and its brilliant Minoan 
culture suddenly come to an end in 1400 B.C.? And what were the exact 
relationships and connexions (evidence of which is so clear) between 
Crete and Mycenae at that or at any stage? Evans believed that Mycenae 
was in the nature of a colony established on the Greek mainland by one 
of the rulers of Knossos — a colony which, after a long period of servitude, 
finally rebelled, organised an expedition and invaded Crete, destroying 
and dominating its mother-city. This might seem to substantiate the 
legends about the tribute of youths and maidens required from Athens 
by the brutal Minotaur, until the hero Theseus went and bearded the 
beast in its den and put an end to its tyranny. It would also explain the 
evident artistic and other affinities of Mycenae with Crete. But it leaves a 
lot unexplained as well. None of the legends, for example, connects 
Mycenae with Knossos — it is always Athens and Attica : nor is there 
any archaeological evidence for Mycenaean colonies or military garrisons 
established in Crete after 1400 B.C., although one might have expected 
the Mycenaeans to have controlled and occupied the island after they had 
subdued it. Minoan civilisation simply degenerates and rapidly declines, 
unheeded and undisturbed by the people across the water. Lastly, there are 
certain essential characteristics of the Mycenaean civilisation which are 
native to the soil and are in no way the product of Minoan influence, not 
least the architectural style of the Mycenaean palaces themselves, and the 
massive fortification walls which surround them — a feature conspicuously 
absent from the royal palaces of Crete. 

Were the Mycenaeans and the Minoans then of the same race and 
language? Evans (and others, until quite recently) believed that they 
were, at least to the extent that neither was Greek. Both were non- 
Hellenic or pre-Hellenic people, speaking and writing a non-Greek 



language. On the other hand, there must have been a form of Greek 
spoken, if not written, long before the time of Homer; for Homeric 
Greek is a highly-developed literary language which must have a long 
history behind it: and philologists had come to certain conclusions as to 
what a more primitive form of the Greek language ought to look like. 
It is true that the legends of Theseus and the Minotaur and of the Trojan 
War made no linguistic distinctions between Greeks and Cretans or 
between Greeks and Trojans : Theseus and Ariadne, Hector and Achilles 
were apparently able to converse in the same language, or at any rate with- 
out an interpreter. But legends are notoriously fallible on the point of 
language. No one is surprised that Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, should 
be fluent in Elizabethan English. However, the accumulation of archaeo- 
logical material on the Greek mainland seemed to suggest that Greece 
had in fact been populated by a new race of invaders from the north 
about 1900 B.C., and that Agamemnon’s Mycenaeans were probably 
their descendants. For their own amusement and for convenience 
scholars labelled these invaders ‘Achaeans’, which is what Homer calls 
the Mycenaean Greeks. And it appeared that it was the Achaeans who 
smarted under the colonial rule of the Minoans, until they proclaimed 
their independence and destroyed their masters in 1400 B.C. Few people, 
however, before 1952 had seriously proposed that these ‘archaeological 
Achaeans’ or Mycenaeans might really be Greeks, speaking and writing 
Greek, and the direct ancestors of the Classical Greeks. 

Sir Arthur Evans had been led to begin his excavations at Knossos 
by the hope of discovering further examples of the kind of pictorial script 
which he had recognised on Cretan gems and seals. In the course of those 
excavations he unearthed a great quantity of specimens of Minoan writing 
of various kinds, some of the purely hieroglyphic type, but even more 
written in a linear form of script. These he was able to classify into four 
categories, which he described as Hieroglyphic Class A and B and Linear 
Class A and B, running more or less chronologically from the beginning 
of the Middle Bronze Age down to 1400 B.C. So far as Evans (and most 
subsequent authorities) were concerned, these curious forms of writing 
were designed to express an unknown ‘Minoan language’. The earliest of 
them was based on a system of pictorial symbols or hieroglyphs — an 
intricate and specialised form of script, knowledge of which was probably 
confined to a few scribes and officials; and it was from these hieroglyphs 
that the two linear scripts developed, the first (Linear A) common to all 
Crete, the second (Linear B) confined apparently to Knossos. The origins of 
the Hieroglyphic script remain obscure. Some, but by no means all of its 
characters may well be related to similar Egyptian hieroglyphs; but most 
of them appear to have been invented by the Cretans themselves to 
express their ideas or their own language. The script seems to read from 
left to right, and in the course of time it became more and more 
diagrammatic, losing its strictly pictorial aspect. In its earliest form 
(Class A) it dates from the 19th century B.C., and is known only from 



seal stones and their impressions in clay. Class B dates from the 18th 
century and is found not only on seal stones but also on little oblong 
tablets of baked clay. In its full development this second form of the 
Hieroglyphic script was tending towards an increasingly abstract style: 
diagrammatic forms of what had originally been pictures were turning 
into representations of letters or more probably syllables. 

What is called the ‘First Palace Period’ at Knossos came to an end 
about 1700 B.C., as the result of a disastrous earthquake; and it is from 
the immediately succeeding period that the first linear script makes its 
appearance. The basic materials were borrowed from the old script; but 
the symbols were now no longer ideographic (except for certain items). The 
pictorial signs were conventionalised and reduced to mere outlines. A 
selection of signs was made from the two Classes of Hieroglyphic writing, 
and this may point to the fact that the new linear script was evolved and 
enforced as the result of an official directive or royal command from 
Knossos. The first form of this new and more developed script is known 
as Linear A. Evans distinguished some 90 different signs — considerably 
fewer than in the Hieroglyphic script, which he estimated to contain 135 
characters. This made it likely that the linear script should be syllabic 
rather than alphabetic, although the emancipation from purely pictorial 
signs was not complete. Linear A continued in use at Knossos until the 
early 15th century B.C., and in the rest of the island until the end of the 
Minoan civilisation. It has not (as yet) been found outside Crete, and so 
it has been taken to be a specifically ‘Minoan’ signary. Once again it 
derives mostly from inscriptions on tablets of clay, although there are 
some examples of Linear A also on pottery and stone or bronze objects. 
The Linear A tablets appear to be official records, accounts, or palace 
inventories, but their exact content and their language remain a mystery. 
Lastly, at some date about 1450 B.C. Linear A was replaced at Knossos 
(and so far as is known at present at Knossos only) by a more complex 
form of script, which Evans named Linear B. Over 3000 tablets and 
fragments of tablets bearing inscriptions in Linear B (that is by far the 
greatest number of clay tablets) have been found in the Palace area at 
(Knossos since 1900. It is significant that they have not been found at 
Phaistos or at any of the other Minoan sites in Crete: for Linear B is more 
than a mere development or modification of Linear A, although based on 
it to a great extent. There are many innovations and different characters. 
This prompted Evans to suggest that Linear B was “a ‘royal’ orthography, 
developed by the Palace scribes and therefore employed exclusively at 
Knossos”. Nearly all the Linear B tablets from Knossos date from the 
period immediately preceding the violent destruction of the Palace in 
1400 B.C., and indeed it is to that event that they owe their preservation; 
for these were the ones baked hard by the action of the fire that put an 
end to Knossos at that date. 

It could be assumed from the appearance of these tablets and the 
writing on them that they were (like those of Linear A) records of supplies 



and commodities, inventories and accounts. For a large number of pic- 
torial signs and ideograms continued to be used for obviously recognis- 
able things, such as chariots, horses, cattle, vases of different shapes, 
wheels etc., and there was a clear distinction between the ideograms for 
men and women. The undecipherable signs accompanying these ideo- 
grams appeared to describe them: the ‘descriptions’ read from left to 
right, the words being often separated by upright strokes, and were 
invariably written along horizontal lines cut in the clay to keep them 
straight, as in a copy book. There were separate signs for numerals 
qualifying the descriptions; and these were easy enough to interpret, being 
written in units, tens, hundreds and thousands. Evans was able to sort 
out at least 70 different linear characters, and tentatively concluded that 
they had a syllabic rather than an alphabetic value. So much was known 
about Linear B before 1939. It was a peculiar form of probably syllabic 
script, used, apparently for purposes of accounting in the Palace at 
Knossos just before its fall: it had been found nowhere else, and it was 
taken for granted that its language must be some special variant of the 
unknown ‘Minoan’ language. Many people made attempts to decipher it, 
based on the assumption that it might have some affinity with one of the 
other odd languages of Europe — Basque, Etruscan, even Albanian — or of 
course with Greek: but the most important work was done by a few who 
approached the problem without any preconceived notions of what the 
language might be, by re-arranging the symbols and groups of symbols 
to arrive at some conclusions about their structure with regard to initial 
signs, word-endings, genders, inflexions, or conjunctions. 

1939 was a turning-point for the study of this subject. In that year 
Professor Carl Blegen of America, who had already spent many years 
working on the site of Troy, decided, like Schliemann, to take Homer 
as his text and search for the home of the aged and garrulous Nestor, 
who (according to Homer) lived at “sandy Pylos” on the west coast of 
Greece. Blegen located a likely site near the modern Pylos on the Bay 
of Navarino and began to dig. His first trench ran straight into a horde 
of clay tablets, which when cleaned were seen to be inscribed in what 
had hitherto been called the Minoan Linear B script, and which was 
thought to be peculiar to Knossos. Altogether 600 tablets were unearthed 
at Pylos — the first to be found in Greece, or indeed anywhere except 
Knossos. The war interrupted further excavations at the Palace of Nestor 
and also further study of this new aspect of the problem of Linear B. But 
the work was resumed in 1952. The first ‘edition’ of the Pylos tablets (by 
Professor Emmett Bennett) appeared in 1951, and more have since been 
found at this site. In 1952 the late Professor Wace of the British School 
of Archaeology at Athens, continuing his excavations at Mycenae itself, 
came upon 39 tablets inscribed in the identical Linear B script of 
Knossos and Pylos (these incidentally were the first to be found outside 
the precincts of a royal palace — they were found in what Wace believed 
to be a private house beyond the walls — which may indicate that the 



knowledge of writing was not confined to royal scribes and officials). 11 
more have since been found at Mycenae. The Pylos and Mycenae tablets, 
like those from Knossos, date from the period immediately preceding the 
destruction of the building or site in which they were located. They sur- 
vived because the clay of which they are made was hardened by the 
action of fire. The Pylos tablets can thus be dated to about 1200 B.C. 
or just after — the date of the destruction of the Pylos palace by invaders. 
The script (Linear B) is virtually identical with that from the last 
period of the palace at Knossos. It is therefore possible to conclude, 
without prejudice, that Linear B was the form of script employed at 
Knossos from about 1450 to 1400 B.C., and that after 1400 it remained 
the exclusive script of the Greek mainland until the destruction of the 
Mycenaean civilisation by the Dorian invasions in the 12th century and 

With the discovery of Linear B tablets at Pylos, on Greek soil, the 
problem of their decipherment became even more urgent and intriguing — 
and also to some extent more possible of solution, since the more one 
has of an unknown script the more one can shuffle the signs and 
characters about and explore the structure of the language. Much funda- 
mental work was in fact done, particularly by American scholars, on the 
arrangement and classification of the signs as a result of the new material; 
but it remained very unlikely that the language could be Greek, even 
though it had been used on the Greek mainland. Then in 1952 a young 
English architect called Michael Ventris claimed to have arrived at a 
tentative decipherment, and to have established that the language which 
emerged from his reading of the Linear B script was in fact a primitive 
form of Greek, written in syllabic form. Ventris had been privately pursu- 
ing his studies in this problem for many years. He first became interested 
in it when as a schoolboy he went to hear a lecture by Sir Arthur Evans. 
He was not a classical scholar or a philologist, but he had a remarkable 
aptitude for languages. I speak of him in the past tense because he was 
killed in a road accident near London in 1956 at the age of thirty-four. 
He was a modest, open-minded and above all sincere and conscientious 
person; he was not in the least likely to take chances in a matter of 
scholarship for reasons of personal prestige, or to bully the evidence into 
fitting a preconceived idea. In fact Ventris made many false starts on the 
decipherment of Linear B. He thought for a long time, for example, that 
the language should have some connexion with Etruscan. But when at 
last he felt that he was on the right track he did not keep the secret to 
himself, but at his own expense privately circulated what he called his 
“Work Notes”, reporting progress and inviting criticism, to all scholars 
who were engaged on the same problem. Like most of them Ventris 
never expected that the language of Linear B would emerge as Greek. 
Latterly, when it appeared that Greek was in fact inevitably emerging, he 
made contact with a trained Greek philologist, John Chadwick of 
Cambridge : and the first official publication of what was modestly called 



‘Evidence for Greek Dialect in the Mycenaean Archives’ was printed 
under the names of Ventris and Chadwick in the Journal of Hellenic 
Studies for 1953. The full-scale publication of their work on the available 
material. Documents in Mycenaean Greek, appeared from the Cambridge 
University Press in 1956, just after Ventris had been killed: and a succinct 
and slightly popularised version of the subject has recently been published 
by John Chadwick. 

Having surprised himself by producing Greek words out of the 
mysterious symbols of Linear B, Ventris had to examine the already 
known archaeological evidence to see if such a thing were possible. Evans 
had believed that the Mycenaean settlements in Greece were the result of 
Minoan colonisation. Unfortunately it is not known what his reactions 
were to the first discovery of Linear B tablets at Pylos in 1939: he was 
then eighty-eight and died shortly afterwards. But it is probable that he 
would have clung to his original theory, that Linear B was an “administra- 
tive revision” of Linear A, designed to express the same “Aegaean 
language”, and that it was transported from Knossos to Pylos by Minoan 
colonists. Some other authorities, however, had already begun to suspect 
that Linear B contained a new and distinct language — a language which 
was native to the Greek mainland rather than to Knossos. The fact that 
a common and almost identical script was employed at Knossos (from 
about 1450 — 1400 B.C.) and thereafter at Pylos and Mycenae seemed to 
support this view. This would demand a complete reversal of the theories 
hitherto put forward concerning the relationship between Crete and 
Mycenae: it would be necessary to suppose either that by 1400 the Greek 
mainland had already usurped the place of Crete in the leadership of 
the Aegean world, making it necessary that ‘Greek’ should be the common 
language of commerce, or that a Greek aristocracy or dynasty had 
established itself in Knossos and conducted its affairs in its own language 
some time before 1400 B.C. There was plenty of evidence from the 
excavations for the rise of Mycenae at the expense of Knossos and Crete 
in the 15th century B.C.; so that this hypothesis might not be so revolu- 
tionary after all. And Professor Wace had already suggested, on the 
strength of the archaeological evidence alone and before the decipherment, 
that the last Palace at Knossos was the seat of an Achaean or Mycenaean 
prince; in which case its final destruction might be attributed to a Minoan 
rebellion against the rule of a foreign dynasty. There was therefore 
independent evidence which seemed to indicate that Linear B (being 
radically different from Linear A in many respects) “was designed for a 
language that originated on the Greek Mainland, which continued to be 
spoken there down to the end of the Mycenaean age”, and which was 
therefore more typically Mycenaean than Minoan. And from that it 
followed that the script might very well represent an early form of Greek. 

It is important to remember, however, that Ventris did not allow 
these hypothetical considerations to influence him with regard to the 
decipherment of Linear B. The odds against the language being Greek 



were still very heavy. The method of decipherment had therefore to start 
from scratch, and to proceed so far as possible from the known to the 
unknown. There was no bilingual text or Rosetta stone to serve as a 
key, so that any unprejudiced decipherment had to begin with a careful 
analysis of the clues presented by the available material — by observation 
and deduction from the appearance of the clay tablets and the script- 
before making any assumptions or comparisons with any other known 
language. This analysis was based on the following points, which could 
safely be deduced from observation: (1) the tablets are inventories, 
accounts, or receipts. (2) Commodities listed are represented by ideograms 
or shorthand pictures, introduced by names, words or sentences written 
phonetically. (3) The identity of many of these commodities can be easily 
recognised from the ideogram representing them, and so there is some 
clue to the words written before them. (4) About 88 different phonetic 
signs could be distinguished, and the shapes of these are almost identical 
in the tablets from Knossos, Pylos and Mycenae. (5) This number of 
signs clearly indicates a syllabary and not an alphabet. (A syllabary of 
ancient origin was still in use in Cyprus to express the Greek language 
in Classical times, and the two are possibly related). (6) By the process 
of statistical counting certain average conclusions can be reached about 
the positioning and frequency of different signs. (7) From word-endings 
some conclusions can be made concerning the grammatical structure and 
inflexion of words. Thus it can be shown that all the tablets (from 
Knossos, Pylos and Mycenae) are of the same language. (8) By analysis 
it was possible to divide the phonetic signs into four categories of a very 
general nature — place-names, men’s and women’s names, names of trades 
associated with men and women and their professions, and general 
vocabulary describing commodities and their adjuncts or circumstances. 2 

On the basis of these deductions Ventris set about the construction 
of what he called a Syllabic Grid — a table showing all the signs repre- 
senting word endings and other syllabic combinations of vowel and 
consonant which might be supposed from their context or their association 
with a particular ideogram to indicate the masculine or the feminine 
gender. When all these known syllabic elements had been reduced to 
some kind of order on the grid, it would then (as he wrote himself in 
September 1951) “only need the identification of a small number of 
syllabic values for the more or less complete system of consonants and 
vowels to fall into place . . . (and) it is conceivable that some happy 
accident or intuition might lead to such a solution at any time now”. 
The fact that he was still expecting to arrive not at Greek but at some 
unknown pre-Greek language, to which Etruscan might be the only clue, 
delayed the occurrence of that “happy accident” for several months more. 
But in the end, after much trial and error, when Greek values were 

9T his account of the analysis of the texts is based on Ventris and Chadwick, 
Journal of Hellenic Studies LXXIII (1953), pp. 85-6. 



applied to a number of the syllabic signs on the Grid and thence to the 
words on the tablets themselves it was found that recognisably Greek 
words could be read. 

Thus the language of Linear B was more or less established as 
Greek, written in a simple form of syllabic script, based on the five 
vowels and some twelve consonants combined with each vowel, and 
using at least 88 different signs, of which some 70 or more are now 
transliterated. But difficulties still remain. It is clear that this script was 
not designed for writing Greek. It was in origin an adaptation of the 
Linear A of Crete (which almost certainly expressed a non-Greek 
language) to express the language of the Greek mainland. The Linear A 
script had to be modified and supplemented for this purpose; and the 
adaptation was not wholly successful. (Only about a half of the signs of 
Linear A reappear in Linear B). Consequently, many sounds which are 
quite clear in the Greek alphabet are confused in this Mycenaean 


^a(A)Kicu t) s(o)/o$)i ^a(A)Ko§ETct t,t(uyr\) [ji 

Transcription of line 2 of Tablet So 894 (see Plate XV): “one pair of 
bronze wheels; [three] pairs of bronze-bound wheels ”. 

syllabary : and some signs had to be pressed into service to represent 
many though similar syllables. For example, the signs indicating the 
syllables pa- and te- can be construed either as pa-ter or as pan-tes: and 
in such cases the interpretation depends entirely on the context. Further, 
being simply business records or archives, the tablets are written in a very 
abbreviated style, in note form, with the minimum of grammar and 
syntax. Nevertheless, the language that emerges from Ventris’s decipher- 
ment is a rudimentary and simplified form of Greek. It is a kind of 
Greek at least 500 years older than Homer, a form of the language 
separated from Classical Greek by the Dark Age. On the whole its dialect 
is most akin to the dialect still spoken and written in Classical times in 
those parts of Greece which escaped the Dorian invasion — Arcadia and 
Cyprus. The language of Cyprus continued for a long time to be written in 
a syllabic script and the ‘Cypriot syllabary’ was deciphered in the 1870’s by 
means of bilingual inscriptions in Greek and Cypriot writing: and the 
‘Arcado-Cyprian’ dialect of Greek has for long been associated by 



philologists with a supposed archaic pre-Dorian or ‘Achaean’ Greek 
dialect. This now seems proved. The ‘Achaean’ dialect is this archaic 
Mycenaean language. 

A major problem raised by this discovery is that of the relationship 
of this language to the Greek of Homer. Homer uses many words and 
word-forms that do not reappear in later Greek, partly because he was 
drawing on a great stock of poetic material handed down by oral 
tradition from the Heroic Age — from the time when ‘Achaean’ was the 
spoken language of Greece, the dialect spoken not only by Agamemnon 
or Nestor, but also by the bards like Demodocus who sang for them. It 
is therefore significant that the Linear B tablets show a great number of 
word-forms and inflexions which are peculiar to Homer, and do not 
appear in later Greek. There is still, of course, no reason for supposing 
that the Homeric poems were ever written down in the Heroic or 
Mycenaean age. The Mycenaean syllabary is a clumsy sort of writing at 
best, and hardly suitable for the transcription of poetry. Poetry, like 
history, needs an alphabet rather than a syllabic script for its expression. 
Indeed, it may well be that no other form of literary document will ever 
come to light from Crete and Mycenaean Greece except these tablets 
containing inventories, records and accounts. The uses of literacy may 
have been strictly limited among the earliest Greeks for the purely 
utilitarian purposes of commerce, accountancy and administration. That 
this was so at Knossos before the introduction of Linear B seems certain: 
and it seems likely that Linear B was developed out of Linear A at 
Knossos because it was there that the ruling dynasty of Greeks first 
perceived the usefulness of literacy. Having done so, however, they were 
forced to modify and adapt the signs of Linear A into those of Linear B 
to conform to the requirements of a different language, namely Greek. 
They found Linear A quite inadequate for the expression of Greek; and 
in the interest of more efficient trade, administration and taxation they 
enlisted Cretan help in creating Linear B. 3 A parallel to this kind of 
script specially created for a specific purpose is provided by the ‘Cyrillic 
script’, which is the basis of the Slavonic alphabet and literature. The 
‘Cyrillic script’ was invented in the 9th century A.D. by the Greek monk 
Cyril for the purpose of translating the Bible and the Liturgy into the 
Slav languages. The alphabet still used (with some modifications) by all 
the Slavonic peoples was thus an adaptation of the Greek minuscule 
alphabet and script to suit the needs of another language — a process 
which necessitated also the invention of certain new letters to express 
sounds in the Slav language which do not occur in the Greek language. 
Thus mutatis mutandis the Cyrillic script of the Old Slavonic liturgy may 
be said to bear a relationship to the Byzantine Greek alphabet similar to 
the relationship apparently existing between Minoan Linear A and 
Mycenaean Linear B. In both cases the later script was evolved out of 

‘^Sterling Dow, ‘Minoan Writing’, American Journal of Archaeology LVIII (1954), 

p. 128. 



the earlier specifically to cope with the expression of an entirely different 

Thus, although much remains conjectural and problematical, we are 
in a fair way to understanding the language of the Mycenaean Greeks 
between about 1450 and 1100 B.C. Before his death Ventris had contrived 
to transliterate some 250 words of Greek or non-Greek out of the Linear 
B tablets. Some it is true have to be coaxed into becoming something 
like Greek, and some refuse even to be bullied. But it is very probable 
that Mycenaean Greek should contain a fair admixture of non-Greek or 
obsolete words or forms. It is disappointing that no historical records 
seem likely to come to light; but even from inventories and accounts a 
good deal of information can be derived concerning Mycenaean life, and 
some but by no means all of it substantiates the Homeric version. How- 
ever, at both Knossos and Pylos the existence of a monarchy is confirmed. 
The head of affairs is referred to as the wanax or king (although the word 
basileus so common in Homer is so far strangely lacking), and another 
official is called the lawagetas or ‘leader of the people’, which may be an 
echo of Homer’s title for Agamemnon, ‘shepherd of the people’. A great 
variety of names of trades and professions indicates a wide division of 
labour. The king and his government were supported by an elaborate 
system of taxation, and many of the tablets are taxation returns. The 
tribute is assessed in kind and not in currency, in terms of sheep, grain, 
honey and other goods. Religion seems to have been administered by 
priests (hieroworgoi) and priestesses; and certain people are referred to 
as ‘slaves of the god or the priestess’. These are distinct from ordinary 
slaves (whose existence is also confirmed), and may have occupied a 
special position in society. The place names occurring on the tablets 
give a fair indication of the extent of the kingdoms centred around 
Knossos and Pylos, though not all of them can be certainly indentified: 
and the personal names are of particular interest. Familiar Greek names 
such as Eteocles, Glaucus, Pyrrhus, Theseus and Xanthus are well repre- 
sented: Achilles also appears as a name both at Pylos and at Knossos, 
in which case it must have been in use at least 200 years before the 
Trojan War. More remarkable still is the use of the name Hector, who 
occurs as one of the ‘slaves of the god’ at Pylos, which seems to show 
that there were Greek as well as Trojan Hectors. 

One of the most confusing of all the results of the decipherment is 
its effect on the theories put forward about the origins of Greek religion, 
and its connexions with the Mycenaean or pre-Dorian religion. Many of 
the tablets record offerings to deities and their shrines. It has often been 
supposed (mainly on the visible evidence of Minoan civilisation) that the 
Olympian gods and goddesses were introduced into Greece from the 
northern world during the Dark Ages following the collapse of Mycenae, 
and that Zeus, Hera, Athena and the rest superseded or accommodated 
themselves to the chthonian or earthy deities which had ruled men’s 
hearts during the Minoan and Mycenaean Bronze Age. But it now appears 



that many of these Olympian gods and goddesses were already at home 
in the Mycenaean age in Greece. One tablet records the names of four 
of them — Athena, Enyalios (Ares), Paian (Apollo) and Poseidon. Athena 
has the title potnia familiar from Homer; and on other tablets the epithet 
potnia occurs alone, apparently as the name of a goddess. A tablet from 
Knossos mentions Eileithyia (the goddess of child-birth) in connexion 
with Amnisos, the port of Knossos, where Homer says that she had a 
well-known shrine: and there are several references to offerings made 
“to all the gods”. From the Pylos tablets come the names of Zeus, Hera, 
Hermes, and (most bewildering of all) Dionysus, the god who is always 
supposed to have been a late arrival even into the Classical Greek 

Extravagant and hasty conclusions ought not to be drawn perhaps 
from the evidence of personal names alone. A great deal of work remains 
to be done, and there are many questions still unanswered. (It seems odd, 
for instance, that a script which was in use for close on 300 years to 
express the same language should not have evolved in some way, or 
have undergone any improvements to meet its patent inadequacies for the 
expression of Greek). But I do not think that anyone can now reasonably 
doubt that a dialect of Greek has emerged from Michael Ventris’s skilful 
decipherment of the Linear B tablets. There is still much conjecture, and 
perhaps too much guesswork in the process of decipherment; and Ventris 
himself was perhaps readier than his followers to admit the limitations 
of his method and to confess his mistakes. But at least a strong beginning 
has been made. The application of the new material to a reinterpretation 
of the Homeric problems (a pastime in which some are already indulging) 
ought perhaps to wait until a more complete decipherment has been 
achieved; and a more complete decipherment depends to a very large 
extent on the discovery of still more tablets, so that comparisons can be 
made and existing conclusions confirmed or invalidated. 

In conclusion, having said so much in favour of the decipherment 
of Linear B, it is only fair to add that, while it is accepted (sometimes 
perhaps rather too uncritically) by the great majority of qualified scholars, 
attacks have been made on it. The principal opponents have been 
Professor Beattie of Edinburgh and Professor Grumach of Berlin. It 
would be a long and painful task to state the main points of their 
objections to Ventris’s decipherment. Suffice it to say that Professor 
Beattie, who rose to the attack in 1956, bases his doubts on the enormous 
number of possible variant readings available when the Ventris method 
is applied to the texts, and on the grounds that a system of writing which 
depends for its interpretation so much on the determinations of the con- 
text is far too flexible to be of any practical use: and conversely, “just 
because it is so imprecise, it enables Mr. Ventris to discern Greek words 
in groups of syllables that look entirely un-Greek to the classical scholar”. 
He therefore detects some degree of fundamental error in the method by 



which Ventris embarked on his decipherment in the first place. If it can be 
proved that there is an error there, then it follows that there will be a 
mounting accumulation of errors all along the line . 4 Professor Grumach’s 
attack is on a far wider front — archaeological and historical as well as 
purely linguistic. But in fact his objections on historical grounds appear to 
be no less hypothetical than those which might be to some extent substan- 
tiated by accepting the Mycenaean script as Greek. From the philological 
point of view Grumach appears to take his stand on a theory regarding the 
nature of Linear B symbols which had in any case been long out of favour. 
Quite a number of those symbols still show as it were the pictorial vestiges 
of the ideograms from which they were originally developed. Thus the sign 
which Ventris deciphered as the vowel a- bears an unmistakable resemb- 
lance to the figure of a double-headed axe: that which has become the 
vowel o- is suspiciously like a drawing reduced to its simplest form of a 
throne-and-sceptre, and so on. These symbols must have had a very 
special, possibly a religious, connotation for the Minoan and Mycenaean 
people: hence it is very strange that they should have degenerated into 
becoming mere vowels and syllables. Further, the double-axe sign appears 
(both in Linear A and in Linear B very frequently at the beginning of groups 
of signs; and this fact “can only be explained on the assumption that it has 
an ideographic or determinative function. ... It must indeed be a very 
strange chance if the ‘double-axe’ sign should owe its frequency as a 
‘beginning-sign’ to its ideographic significance in Linear A, while in Linear 
B on the contrary it owes it to the relative frequency of a Greek initial 
letter, which (according to Ventris’s sign values), corresponds with unfailing 
regularity to the phonetic value of a- as in Athana etc. It is extremely un- 
likely that such recurrent sign-combinations as throne-with-king, double- 
axe-with-king, double-axe-with-house etc. should arise from the chance 
bringing together of phonetic signs (in another language)”. According to 
Grumach then a great number of the signs of Linear B as of Linear A 
are not vowels or syllables at all but retain the religious or hieroglyphic 
nature which their appearance would seem to imply . 5 

These objections are powerful, but by no means conclusive. 
Professor Beattie, though aspiring to detect a high degree of error in the 
method of decipherment, does not appear to discover it. Professor 
Grumach’s linguistic objections would appear to lead us off down a 
cul-de-sac, away from the main road to any possible decipherment. In 
any case it is not “strange” that the symbol of a ‘double-axe’, when 
taken over as the vowel a- by the Mycenaean Greeks for their Linear B 
syllabary, should appear very frequently at the beginning of words, since 

4 A. J. Beattie, ‘Mr. Ventris’ Decipherment of the Minoan Linear B Script’, 
Journal of Hellenic Studies LXXVI (1956), pp. 1-17. 

5 E. Grumach, ‘Bemerkungen zu M. Ventris — J. Chadwick : Evidence for Greek 
Dialect in the Mycenaean Archives’, Orientalistische Liter at urzeitung LII, 7-8 (July- 
August, 1957), pp. 293-342. 



a great many words do in fact begin with a-. 6 Finally, neither of the 
principal enemies of the decipherment can satisfactorily explain how it is 
possible, even on the supposition of an enormous number of coincidences 
and happy chances, that so much readily recognisable Greek can in fact 
be produced by using the Ventris method on the texts of the Linear B 
tablets. As Professor T. B. L. Webster wrote, in answer to the barrage of 
Beattie : “What is the mathematical probability that a decipherment 
should be wrong when it provides intelligible and grammatical Greek on 
3,500 tablets for such different subjects as lists of workers, operational 
orders, livestock, spices, land ownership, religious offerings, textiles, 
furniture and weapons?” 7 

The last word for the moment may rest with Dr. N. Platon, the 
Greek Director of the Iraklion Museum in Crete, whose learned review 
of the Ventris-Chadwick book recently appeared. 8 Dr. Platon, who began 
by doubting and rejecting the whole decipherment, is now convinced that 
it is basically correct. After a severe and detailed criticism of the 
deficiencies (not always acknowledged) in the decipherment, he concludes 
by saying: “These comments are not to be taken as implying that the 
reviewer is not convinced that the phonetic values of the syllables have 
been correctly restored, or that the texts are in the Greek language. They 
are intended merely to underline the problematic nature of the sense and 
significance of many of the texts and to recommend a scholarly caution 
in putting forward more general conclusions, especially such as conflict 
with other, plainer evidence based on archaeological findings”. 

The chief importance then of the objections which have been made 
may lie in the fact that, by starting possible hares and invoking serious 
criticism which demands to be answered, they have introduced a salutary 
element of caution into the process of dealing with the Linear B texts. 
They have picked holes in the decipherment, but fundamentally the 
structure remains sound; and by repairing those holes the specialists may 
be enabled to add to its strength by arriving at some more confident con- 
clusions and some more definite observations. It is of course tragic that 
Michael Ventris himself has not been spared to take up the challenge 
offered by his critics. But I think it is safe to say that his work has pushed 
back the history of the common ancestors of our civilisation, the Greeks, 
several centuries, and supplied the Greek language with a continuous 
history of over 3000 years — a life-span rivalled by only one other of the 
world’s languages. 

^Professor W. B. Stanford has kindly suggested to me, in this connexion, that 
the signs aleph (= an ox) and beth (= a house) might frequently occur together as 
jideograms in a community of cattle-tenders; while aleph as a letter and beth as 
another letter would frequently occur together as a- and b- in Hebrew or Phoenician. 

7 Sunday Times, 27 January, 1957. 

8 Journal of Hellenic Studies LXXVIII (1958), pp. 140-143. 



The accompanying illustrations of some antiquities not previously 
published, may help to draw attention to these interesting monuments. 

The finial (No. 1) which lies in the graveyard at Saggart was found 
by Mr. Patrick Birmingham in August 1956, when excavating for a 
foundation on which to erect a tombstone. The spot was about five yards 
from the south west wall of the graveyard, and is now marked by a 
memorial belonging to the Lennon family. According to Mr. Birmingham 
it was about two feet below the surface, embedded in clay and not 
accompanied by stones or masonry. 

The finial is of granite the overall width being two feet and the height 
one foot eight inches. The lower part is roughly shaped into a blunt point, 
in the back slope of which is cut a seating three inches deep and five-and- 
a-half inches wide. The front, sides, and ends of the arms are covered 
with an irregular pattern of chisel marks. The back and the tapered base 
are only hammer dressed, although chisel marks appear also on the back 
slope of the base, indicating that this was part of the original design. 

This finial differs considerably from previously published examples, 1 
in that the two arms are of rectangular cross-sections and terminate in a 
vertical face, a form which illustrates very clearly the conversion into 
stone of the crossed ends of the gable rafters. 2 This simpler form would 
be typologically earlier than the fully developed finial with rounded wings 
and embellished with carved decoration, and may well date from the 
time of the foundation of the monastery by St. Mo-Sacra in the seventh 

The Rathmichael cross fragment (No. 2) was found in 1954 during 
renovations by the Board of Works. It is one foot four inches high, and 
is also of granite. In its present mutilated condition it is not possible to 
attempt a conjectural restoration, but it would appear from the short 
portion of dressed work on one edge that it was originally a free-standing 
cross, and not a double sided slab as might otherwise be presumed. Each 
side bears a cross-in-circle in false relief. On one side it was apparently 
surrounded by an incised circle, above which is the lower portion of 
another circle of about the same diameter. Below the cross on the same 
side is a sunk band, and at the upper and lower terminals of the cross are 
small semi-circular loops. On the other side there is a similar loop at the 
upper terminal only. 

1. JRSAI, Vol. XLIV (1914), p. 171-172: Finial Stones, by Henry S. Crawford. 

2. Harold G. Leask. Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings. Vol. I, p. 46-47. 



3. Socket Stone Carrickm ines 
Map based on 6' 0. S.Ma p by perm i ssio n oF the M i n is ter for Fi na nee 

Fro n t Elevation 
4. Cross inscribed Stone 

Side View 
Kill of the Granqe 



The socket stone at Carrickmines Great (No. 3) is on the lands of 
Springfield Farm, the property of Mr. Greaves. The socket is one foot one- 
and-a-half inches by seven-and-a-half inches and is an average of nine- 
and-a-half-inches deep. It is cut in a flatfish granite boulder, the surface 
of which is level with the ground. The exposed portion, which is about 
three feet across, does not bear any other mark. 

This stone was located through a reference in Vol. 799 (P. 70) of the 
schools survey, organised by the Irish Folklore Commission in 1937. 
According to this report there was a tradition that the cross which once 
stood here is now buried somewhere in the vicinity. The old track beside 
the stone was known as “the old packhorse road”, and mails used to be 
brought that way to Wicklow. 

The position of the stone is marked on the accompanying map and is 
exactly one mile distant from the ancient site of Tully on the east and 
the same distance from the Jamestown site on the west. 

That this was, in fact, a cross base, there cannot be much doubt, as 
the normal method for securing such monuments in this part of the 
country, was to fit them into a mortice cut in an undressed boulder or 
slab. At Whitechurch, where a similar vacant socket occurs, there is an 
incised cross of early type cut beside the hole. 

The cross-inscribed stone at Kill of the Grange (No. 4) is also of 
granite. It consists of a flat circular portion six inches thick, one edge of 
which has been broken away. On the face of this is a slightly sunken 
Greek cross, and above the cross an open socket four-and-a-half inches 
wide and four inches deep. On the back of the circular portion is a rough 
bulbous lump nine-and-a-half inches long, ten-and-a-half inches wide and 
protruding five-and-a-half inches. This part seems to have been intended 
to be built in out of sight, and, presumably, in this position, and with the 
socket to the top, the stone could be used as a corbel. The cross can be 
compared with that cut on the underside of the lintel of Killiney Church. 

P. 6 hEailidhe. 


Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper. By 
Donal O’Sullivan. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., 
1958. 2 vols. 84/-. 

Dr. O’Sullivan’s great work, in two massive volumes, is divided into 
four parts. The first part deals with the life and times of Carolan. A 
masterly chapter on the historical and social background of the period is 
followed by a critical review of the authorities for Cardan’s life. 

Two further chapters treat of Carolan’s boyhood and career and the 
remaining 25 chapters, apart from one on his last days, death and burial, 
are concerned with various subsidiary associations and aspects of his life: 
how he stood with his patrons, especially with the MacDermot Roe family 
and the O’Conors of Belanagare; his romantic attachment to Bridget 
Cruise; his dealings with Dean Swift, Charles MacCabe, Seamus Dali 
MacCuarta and other contemporary poets. There is one especially pleasant 
and illuminating chapter on the anecdotes related of Carolan and the 
occasional verses attributed to him, exemplifying, as Dr. O’Sullivan writes, 
“ his love of drink and good cheer, his irascibility, his common sense 
and his delight in the ludicrous ”. 

In the second part of the work we are presented with the music of 
Carolan, 212 tunes in all. Here, as it were, the harper himself, with 
harp new-strung, takes over gratefully from his wearied biographer; he 
takes the floor and without gloss or comment comes really alive, as he 
came alive on that memorable evening last November in the Society’s 
House at the lecture-recital on his music by Dr. O’Sullivan, with Miss 
Kennedy, soprano, and Miss Larchet, harpist. Those who were present 
that evening will, to a large extent, have savoured the essence of Dr. 
O’Sullivan’s two volumes, and will have received the impetus and stimula- 
tion to carry them through the smaller print of the third and most 
difficult part of the work: The Notes to the Tunes. 

Here the author’s amazing erudition has full play, especially in family 
history. A large portion of Carolan’s songs and tunes were composed 
for patrons and were accepted by them, Protestant as well as Catholic, 
as a kind of accolade and mark of signal honour. Dr. O’Sullivan explores 
the history of these patrons and their families. He presents the sad 
picture of the gradual decline of families like the MacDonaghs and 
O’Rourkes from the status of chieftain to that of tenant farmer. And 
in this respect, for the light it throws on Irish families. Dr. O’Sullivan’s 
work is likely to become a standard reference book on family history. 

Exhausted perhaps by the 139 closely-printed pages of notes, more in 
the nature of a huge appendix than a component part of the work, the 
reader is rewarded in the fourth part by one of the most important 



and delightful documents that have come out of 18th century Ireland: 
The Memoirs of Arthur O’Neill. These are here presented for the first 
time substantially without alteration from the MS., one of the Bunting 
papers in the library of the Queen’s University, Belfast. Arthur O’Neill, 
one of the last of the itinerant harpers, was born some four years before 
Carolan died. At Bunting’s instance he dictated his memoirs to a copyist 
in Belfast — what a pity some one did not do the same service for Carolan! 
O’Neill, a man of proud bearing, was somewhat of a personage in his 
day. It was he who re-strung the harp which is known as Brian Boru’s 
and led a procession with it through the streets of Limerick, playing Irish 
airs. At a “ Milesian ” entertainment given by Lord Kenmare in 
Killarney, O’Neill, groping for a place at the table (for he was blind), 
proclaimed, amidst the applause of the noble company, that where he 
sat should be considered head of the table. In the account of his peregrina- 
tions from one gentleman’s seat to another we are afforded an intimate 
glimpse of the whole living procession of life in the 18th century, often 
a boisterous rollicking cavalcade, not at all so subdued and dispirited 
as some historians would make it out to be. 

The frontispiece to the first volume is a reproduction in colour of the 
portrait of Carolan, attributed to Francis Bindon, and painted from life. 
The frontispiece to the second volume is not quite so happy. It was 
painted by J. C. Timbrell in 1844, at the height of the “Gothic” period 
and has plenty of “ Gothic ” quality and fussy romanticism. The melancholy 
harper, beautifully attired, plays to a group consisting mainly of hand- 
some ladies and a comfortable friar in full habit. There are sundry 
pieces of medieval armour, a greyhound and other such properties, dear 
to the heart of Walter Scott, but repugnant to the classical spirit of the 
18th century. The bas-relief of Carolan, commissioned by Lady Morgan 
for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, might have been a more suitable choice, if 
only because it is simpler and more classical. 

And the fine portrait of Arthur O’Neill, painted from life by Conn 
6 Domhnaill, at Larkfield, would have been a more authentic illustration 
to his Memoirs than the rather familiar and somewhat desiccated engraving 
by Smyth which Dr. O’Sullivan reproduces. O’Neill, as his Memoirs show 
and O Domhnaill’s portrait corroborates, was an upstanding, sturdy 
character, not at all the feeble dawdling figure of the engraving. 

All in all, this is a monumental work and will long grace the shelves 
of libraries, private as well as public. In production, these beautiful 
volumes could scarcely be excelled. We owe Dr. O’Sullivan a deep debt 
of gratitude and our gratitude will extend also to those bodies and 
persons that have made their publication possible, especially that anony- 
mous donor whose enlightened patronage is beginning to mean so much 
to Irish artists and scholars. 

T. W. 



The Celts. By T. G. E. Powell. London: Thames and Hudson. 1958. 

By accepting Dr. Daniel’s invitation to write a short but comprehen- 
sive account of the Celts, Mr. Powell set himself a severe task. This 
is a field in which theories flourish more than facts, and the theoreticians 
are always ready to strike down intruders into their domains. Mr. Powell 
divides the available space into three major sections of equal length, 
followed by a fourth shorter section. The title of section one, ‘ Finding 
the Celts ’, is self-explanatory. After a survey of the European pre- 
historic background, and a review of the historic material of Herodotus 
and Caesar, Mr. Powell traces the origin of Celtic society to the Hallstatt 
chieftains of the seventh century B.C. The second section, ‘ The Celts 
in life ’, deals with their social and military organisation, and the third, 

‘ The Celtic Supernatural ’, with their religious beliefs. 

In Mr. Powell’s opinion the Celts reached their acme in the fifth and 
fourth centuries B.C., when their influence ranged from Ireland to Asia 
Minor. Europe could not contain both the Celtic chieftains and the 
Roman Empire, and the campaigns of Julius Caesar ended the Celtic 
world on the Continent. The final shorter section, ‘ The Celtic Survival ’, 
describes the survival of Celtic groups in Ireland and in northern and 
western Britain. The same isolation that saved this area from the Roman 
armies also saved it from the later barbarian hordes. Mr. Powell draws 
heavily on the Celtic literature which thus survived in Ireland and Wales 
to illustrate many aspects of Celtic life throughout its long history. 

Mr. Powell has acquitted himself well in his task. In addition to the 
excellent plates that are such a feature of the ‘ Ancient Peoples and Places ’ 
series, he has gallantly included a two-page table setting historical records 
on the one hand against archaeological records on the other. Let us hope 
that some Irish scholar will soon pluck up enough courage to follow 
Mr. Powell’s example. 

G. F. M. 

The Ancient and Historic Monuments of the Isle of Man. Douglas, 
The Manx Museum and National Trust, 1958, pp. 48, price l/6d. 

The archaeology of the Isle of Man is, in many respects, a microcosm 
of that of these islands as a whole and for such a small area the Isle is 
surprisingly rich in monuments of all periods. This general guide is intro- 
duced by a brief but informative summary of the prehistory and history of 
the island which is followed by a selected list of the major monuments 
with descriptive notes on each. Succinct but clear directions for reaching 
each site are given and for further ease of location they are marked on a 
large and uncluttered map. Convenience of consultation has been provided 
for by an index, and ten pages of excellent photographs illustrate the 



more important monuments. The archaeologically-minded visitor to the 
island who fails to equip himself with this attractive vade-mecum is cer- 
tainly placing himself at a serious disadvantage in exploring the island’s 
antiquities and is depriving himself, as well, of a useful list of books and 
articles for further reading. 

A. T. L. 

A Guide to Cregneash: The Manx Open-Air Folk Museum. Douglas, 

The Manx Museum and National Trust, 1957; price 1/-. 

So little endeavour has been made to ascertain the sober realities of 
the life of the Irish people down the ages that it is not uncommon to meet 
persons whose vision has been so perverted by wild and baseless dreams 
of a universal ancient grandeur that they regard the traditional Irish 
house as a hovel forced upon the people by alien tyranny. Their best 
word for it is “cottage” (a name by which no Irishman ever called his 
house)-, the word which best expresses their real attitude to it is “cabin”. 
If such persons can be converted from their stiff-necked worship of the 
golden calf of a bogus antiquity, the reading of this admirably produced 
little guide could be their salvation from the senseless idolatry into which 
they have fallen. The traditional house of the Isle of Man bears a close 
family resemblance to the Irish one but is fast disappearing from the 
island. To preserve examples of it for posterity part of the village of 
Cregneash in the Meayl peninsula has been acquired by the Manx Museum 
and National Trust. The project began in 1938 with a single house and 
the Folk Museum now embraces five separate buildings with their 
gardens and enclosures. One of the houses is fully furnished, almost all 
the contents being the property of its former owner, Harry Kelly, crofter 
and fisherman and a native Manx speaker. There is also a weaver’s shed 
with its loom and a turner’s workshop with the craftsman’s gear. All are 
described in the Guide and illustrated with excellent photographs. 

A. T. L. 

Handbook on the Traditional Old Irish Dress. H. F. McClintock. 

Dundalk, Dundalgan Press (W. Tempest) Ltd., 1958; price 15/-. 

Major H. F. McClintock, whose Old Irish Dress from the same 
publisher was the first scientific study of the history of Irish costume and 
remains the standard authority on it, has condensed in the present book 
the salient points of the larger work into twenty-two pages of text. To 
these he has added three pages dealing with the errors which have damned 
the supposedly “national” costume invented in modern times for Irish 
pipe bands and dancers, particularly the strange and lamentable mistake 
which foisted on unsuspecting enthusiasts the notion that the kilt was the 
national dress of men in ancient Ireland, and puts forward suggestions 
for a reformed ceremonial costume based on the four items of old Irish 
dress: the mantle, saffron shirt, jacket and trews. To judge by the number 



of queries about Irish “national costume” which are received by the 
personnel of learned institutions and societies. Major McClintock’s Old 
Irish Dress is not as well-known as it ought to be, especially among the 
Irish public, and there is still, evidently, widespread ignorance of the 
facts about Irish dress which he has so excellently documented. It is to be 
hoped that the present shorter and cheaper version of the work will go 
far to remedy this regrettable situation. It is a curious trait of human 
nature that it sometimes prefers the cloudy legend to the plainer truth 
and it may be that McClintock is the victim of this subconscious 
reluctance to forego the fairytale. For its size the book is lavishly 
illustrated with twenty plates, three of them in colour. It is produced in 
the finest tradition of a publisher who has enriched the country with 
so many original works on so many aspects of Irish history and culture. 

A. T. L. 

Analecta Hibernica, No. 20. Survey of Documents in Private Keeping, 

2nd series. By John F. Ainsworth and Edward MacLysaght. 

Irish Manuscripts Commission. Dublin, 1958. 30/-. 

As well as reports on several further collections, this volume contains 
a list, arranged alphabetically under owners’ names, of all the collections 
which have so far been examined; anyone interested can consult the 
reports on these in the National Library. The reports now printed include 
an interesting calendar of Nugent papers; many of these are preserved 
in a collection which was made in the 19th century by a member of 
the family, who made careful copies or abstracts from original documents 
which have been lost in the destruction of the Public Record Office in 
1922. The Power O’Shee papers contain copies of a great many wills 
and other documents of Kilkenny interest, some of which were exhibited 
at a general meeting of the Society in April, 1897. Among them is a 
record of the service in the French army of Col. Richard O’Shee, who was 
bom in Kilkenny in 1740 and died at St. Germain-en-laye in 1802. He 
was on board the Fraternite with General Hoche in the expedition of 
December, 1796, to Bantry Bay; he is mentioned several times in Wolfe 
Tone’s Memoirs. In the Colclough papers and others calendared here 
one can see examples of the processes by which in many parts of the 
country men of newly gained wealth obtained possession of land in 
Ireland; in the early years of the 17th century small holdings of Irish 
proprietors who had not suffered confiscation were frequently acquired 
for small sums by sale or mortgage; and half a century later, at the 
time of the Cromwellian settlement, some of the deeds show typical 
instances of the larger grantees purchasing for very little the proportions 
of land allotted to soldiers for arrears of pay. It is the intention of the 
editors to print further series of these reports; this will be welcomed, 
as the documents provide most useful material for the detailed study of 
Irish history. 

L. P. 



Seanchas Ardmhacha. Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical 
Society. Vol. 3, No. 1. 1958. 

The 1958 issue of Seanchas Ardmhacha maintains the high level 
of scholarship of its predecessors. The Donaghmore Franciscans by An 
tAth. Eamon 6 Doibhlinn gives information about Franciscan friars who 
kept the faith alive during the years of persecution in Dungannon 
district. In Part II of the Clergy of Blessed Oliver Plunkett , An tAth. 
Donnchadh Mac Phoil, S.T.L., gives a biographical dictionary of the 
secular clergy. The Diamond Fight of 1795 and the Resultant Expulsions 
by Patrick Tohall is an account of a pre-arranged sectarian combat 
which was made the pretext for the violent expulsion of ten thousand 
Catholics, or more. Rev. Tomas 6 Fiaich, M.A., in The Fall and 
Return of John MacMoyer, brings forward unpublished evidence point- 
ing to the final repentance of another of those who drove Blessed 
Oliver Plunkett to his death. Ancient altar-plate and other furnishings 
of the church of Armagh by Rev. Benignus Millett, O.F.M., deals with 
altar-plate and other church furnishings which had been left in the safe 
keeping of the Irish Franciscans in Louvain in the 17th century. T. G. 
F. Paterson, M.A., publishes a list of County Armagh Householders, 
1664-1665, compiled from copies of two County Armagh Hearth Money 
Rolls, the originals having been destroyed in the Four Courts in 1922. 
In Robert S. MacAdam’s Louth Correspondents ( 1831-1845 ), Seamus P. 
6 Mordha, M.A., prints some interesting letters and other material. 
A Statistical Return of Armagh Diocese in 1836, by Rev. Louis O’Kane, 
C.C., gives an account of the state of Catholicism in Armagh Diocese 
at the beginning of the 19th century. An tAth. Eamon O Doibhlinn 
publishes Part III of Domhnach Mor which deals with the Plantation 
Era. Sean De Ris, M.A., edits the fifth poem. An Da Shean, of Danta 
fa Chleir Ardmhacha. Documents relating to the Irish Dominicans are 
edited by Gearoid Mac Niocaill in Caipeisi Doimnicednacha on Ylu 
Cead. A Photographic Feature has some interesting photographs of 
Blessed Oliver Plunkett. The Chronicle for 1957 deals with : Events of 
Local Historical Interest, Publications of Local Historical Interest, 
Diocesan History in the Making, 1957, and Cumann Seanchas 
Ardmhacha, 1957. 

C. S. 

Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society. Vol. XIV, 
No. 1. 1957. 

Rev. Fr. Colmcille, O.C.S.O., edits an important Mellifont Document, 
an Inspeximus granted by Edward III (28th September, 1348) of all 
earlier charters to the monks of Mellifont. A Census of Tallanstown 
Parish, made in 1834, is published by Rev. Dermot Maclvor. Rev. 
Tomas 6 Fiaich, M.A., edits Blessed Oliver Plunkett’s Report on the 
Diocese of Armagh, the earliest report sent to Rome after Blessed 
Oliver’s arrival in his new diocese as archbishop. H. G. Tempest gives 



an account of a Seventeenth-century Map of Dundalk and Castletown. 
He also describes a Souterrain in Kilcurry Townland. A Burial at 
Rossmakay, Co. Louth, is described by Ellen Prendergast, and an 
account of the Drogheda Corporation Mace, Sword of State and Plate 
is given by Joseph Carr. The Annual Report shows that the society 
is in a flourishing condition. 

Journal of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society. Vol. XIII, 
No. 7. 1958. 

In this issue of the Kildare Journal, Major-General Sir Eustace F. 
Tickell, K.B.E., C.B., M.C., continues his account of the Eustace Family 
and their Lands in County Kildare. Dunganstown Castle is described 
by P. J. Murray. “ Fear Ceall ” publishes chapters XV, XVI, and 
XVII of Conntae an Riogh (“ King’s County ”). That the steady 
progress of the Kildare Society is being maintained is evidenced by the 
popularity of the Excursions and the increased attendances at them. 

Riocht na Midhe. Records of Meath Archaeological and 
Historical Society. Vol. 1, No. 4. 1958. 

The Foreword to this issue of the Meath Journal, by the President, 
the Very Rev. R. R. Callary, P.P., V.F., tells us that the Society is in a 
flourishing condition. As he says: “ I was present at the birth of the 
Society in 1917, and many a time I thought I should be the lone mourner 
at its funeral. Happily it has lived throughout the years and is now 
strong and healthy with all the potentialities of further development.” 
In the opening article Fr. John Brady traces a brief account of St. Patrick’s 
missionary work in Meath and of the continuation of that work by his 
successors. Loughan and Dulane, two of the three mediaeval parishes of 
the present Parish of Carnaross, are described by Philip O’Connell, M.Sc., 
Ph.D. “ The Hereditary Lands and Royal Tuath of the O’Melaghlins ”, 
by Very Rev. Dr. Moran, P.P., deals principally with the movements that 
brought all of the Midlands as far as the Shannon under the jurisdiction 
of the King of Tara. Matthew O’Reilly collects some information about 
the Plunkets of Loughcrew of whom very little is known. A ruined burial 
chamber at Drewstown and the ecclesiastical foundations which remain 
at Girley are described by R. F. G. Adams, M.A. M. K. McGurl, M.A., 
gives interesting accounts of St. Fagan's Museum, Cardiff, and Danish 
Folk Museums in Country and Town, and urges that the Proposed Museum 
at Tara will not be a dead and uninspired building but one worthy of its 
location. The Hon. Editor publishes “The State of the Poor in 1834”, 
which is a document, discovered a couple of years ago in a house in the 
Loughcrew district, containing answers to a number of queries regarding 
the state of the poor in Ireland. It is suggested that the present manu- 
script is a draft proposed by one of the persons replying and that it 



formed the basis for the final reply. Other interesting articles are: “Altmush 
Corn-Drying Kiln ”, by Beryl F. E. Moore, M.B., “ St. Edward’s Crown 
in Ireland ”, by Henry Gerrard, and a “ Note on an unrecorded Passage 
Grave ”, by R. F. G. Adams, M.A. 

Old Kilkenny Review. 1958. No. 10. 

Interesting lectures and outings, and a considerable increase in the 
number of members show, as the Editor points out, that the Kilkenny 
Society continues to flourish. An account of the Famine in Kilkenny 
is given by Thomas P. O’Neill, M.A. Leo McAdams has a paper on 
a gallant sportsman and pioneer airman, Denys Corbett Wilson. Bonnetts- 
town Hall and Castle are described by Commander G. Marescaux. An 
account of the Nore View House School and its whereabouts are furnished 
by Mrs. W. J. Phelan in “ A Forgotten Kilkenny School ”. Information 
about the ancient corporate town of Newtown Jerpoint is given by W. 
J. Pilsworth. Ellen Prendergast describes a Bronze Axehead from Co. 
Kilkenny, a Souterrain recently discovered in Co. Kilkenny, and the 
Moat of Ballyfoyle. Much interesting information is given by Dr. F. 
R. Walsh in “ Castle Eve ”, and by Miss M. Cassin, B.Sc., in “ Here 
and There in St. Canice’s Parish ”. 

Gwerin. Volume 11. December, 1958. No. 2. 

The first article in this issue of Gwerin is “ Yeoman’s English ”, by 
the late Professor W. J. Gruffydd. This was broadcast on 22nd March, 
1955, in the B.B.C. Home Service, as an introduction to a series of 
talks on dialects. In “ Charcoal Burners’ Huts ”, James Walton has 
brought together in one paper such information as he has been able to 
collect from illustrations and descriptions of charcoal burners’ huts in 
various scattered journals, some of which are rather difficult of access. 
A. T. Lucas contributes further notes to an account, which appeared in 
the first number of this journal, of a granary made of superimposed rings 
of thick straw rope (sugan) which still survives in certain districts of 
Cork and Kerry, and gives additional information both on variations 
in its construction and on its present and former distribution. “ Rural 
Industry in Modem Ulster Society ”, by G. B. Thompson, is the second 
of four papers in a symposium entitled ‘ Simple and Advanced Techniques 
in Modem Society ’, read to Section H of the British Association, at the 
Glasgow Meeting, 1958. Wilfred Seaby gives interesting notes on the 
Ulster Drill Plough. 

Ulster Folklife. Volume 4. 1958. 

The Secretary, G. B. Newe, reports another year of progress in the 
task of collecting and recording Ulster’s wonderful heritage of skills 
and traditions. “ The Ulster Landscape ” is the subject of a paper by 
E. Estyn Evans, M.A., D.Sc. Albert Sandklef, Fil. Dr., in “ The Com- 
bination of Seafaring and Farming ”, describes how, until quite recently. 



all the inhabitants in some parts of the west coast of Sweden, especially 
in Onsala, were sailors, and at the same time were farmers, sailing from 
the beginning of March until the end of November each year, their 
wives meanwhile ruling the farm and its affairs. “ Surviving Openfield 
in County Londonderry ”, by D. McCourt, M.A., Ph.D., is an account 
of two townlands that retain pre-enclosure landscapes. Caoimhin O 
Danachair, M.A., has a very interesting account of “Bread”. In “The 
Blacksmith’s Craft ”, G. B. Thompson, M.Sc., A.M.A., records some 
observations and impressions during a recent survey of rural conditions 
in Northern Ireland “ Extracts from the Committee’s Collection ”, by 
K. M. Harris, M.Sc., contains a wide but necessarily brief selection 
of items from collectors’ notebooks, answers to questionnaires and 
letters. Michael J. Murphy publishes a Tyrone Folktale, “Old Lord 
Erin’s Son ”, and G. B. Adams has a paper on “ The Emergence of 
Ulster as a Distinct Dialect Area ”. A representative selection of the 
large collection of papers preserved by the Scott family of Burren, 
near Ballynahinch, is given by Breandan MacAodha, B.A., in “ A 
Century of Life in County Down”. Notes include: “Traditions Re- 
garding Earthworks ”, “ Counting Rhymes ”, and “ More Buried Horse- 
Skulls ”, by K. M. Harris, “ Learning the English Alphabet : A Further 
Note ”, by Breandan MacAodha, and “ The Black Pig and the Cailleach 
Geargain ”, by T, J. Barron. 

C. S. 


At the Annual General Meeting of the Society held at the Society’s 
House on January 28, 1958, the following were elected to their respective 
offices : — 

President: — G. F. Mitchell, M.A., F.T.C.D., Fellow. 

Hon. General Secretary: — A. T. Lucas, M.A., Member. 

Hon. Treasurers:—!. Maher and B. J. Cantwell, Members. 
Members of Council: — Miss G. C. Stacpoole, Fellow, Professor 
J. J. Tierney, Member and R. E. Cross, Member. 

Dr. A. Farrington and Dr. W. O’Sullivan were appointed Hon. 
Auditors for the year 1958. 

During the year eight meetings of the Society were held. The papers 
read and lectures given are listed in the Journal for 1958 at p. 200 and 
1959 at p. 108. 

During the year eight meetings of the Council were held at which the 
attendance was as follows: — 

G. F. Mitchell, President ... 7 

Dr. H. G. Leask, Past 

President ... 6 

Rev. Dr. John Ryan, S.J., 

Past President ... 0 
District Justice Liam Price, 

Past President ... 7 

Prof. Ruaidhri de Valera, 

Vice-President ... 3 

Lady Dorothy Lowry-Corry, 

Vice-President ... 0 

Prof. M. J. O’Kelly, Vice- 

President ... 0 

Patrick Tohall, Vice- 

President ... 0 

A. T. Lucas, Hon. Gen. 

Secretary ... 1 

J. Maher, Hon Treasurer 
B. J. Cantwell, Hon. 

Treasurer ... 
Dr. M. de Paor, Member 
Caoimhin 6 Danachair, 
Member ... 
*Frank Foley, Member ... 
Mrs. A. K. Leask, Fellow 
f P rof. R. Dudley Edwards, 
Member ... 
fDR. F. S. Bourke, Member 
Dermot O’Clery, Member 
Conn R. O Cleirigh, Member 
Prof. J. C. Brindley, Member 
Miss G. C. Stacpoole, Fellow 
R. E. Cross, Member ... 
Prof. J. J. Tierney, Member 

*Co-opted February 29, 1956. 
jCo-opted April 24, 1957. 














The following nominations for President, Officers and Members of 
Council for 1959 were received: — 

President: — G. F. Mitchell, M.A., F.T.C.D., Fellow. 

Hon. General Secretary: — A. T. Lucas, M.A., Member. 

Hon. Treasurers: — J. Maher and B. J. Cantwell, Members. 

Members of Council: — Dr. Joseph Raftery, Member; Rev. C. 

Scantlebury, S.J.; E. G. Barton. 

The foregoing nominations being in accordance with the Statutes 
and Bye-Laws and not in excess of the several vacancies, the persons 
named are to be declared elected to the respective offices for which they 
have been named. 

On the nomination of the Council Dr. A. Farrington and Dr. W. 
O’Sullivan have been appointed Hon. Auditors for the year 1959. 

Meetings of the Society during 1959 will be held as follows: — 

Tuesday, January 27 
„ March 3 
April 21 
„ June 2 

Date to be announced later 

Tuesday, September 22 
„ November 3 

„ December 8 

Annual General Meeting. 
Meeting for Papers. 
Quarterly Meeting. 

Meeting for Papers. 
Quarterly (Summer) Meet- 

Quarterly Meeting. 
Meeting for Papers. 
Statutory Meeting. 


During the year the following excursions were held: — 

April 26, 1958 . — To Brennanstown (dolmen), Rathmichael (church), 
Kilternan (dolmen), Ballyedmonduff (megalith), and Larchill (megalith). 
The party, which numbered 53, was led by Mr. Patrick Healy and Mr. 
Marcus O hEochaidh. 

July 4-8, 1958 . — To County Kilkenny. The centre for the excursion 
was Kilkenny City to which the party was welcomed at a Civic Reception 
by His Honour Mr. M. J. McGuinness, Mayor of Kilkenny and, on behalf 
of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society by Mrs. M. M. Phelan, Vice- 
President. The party, which numbered 63 and was led by Dr. H. G. 
Leask, Miss H. M. Roe, Mr. P. J. Hartnett, Miss E. Prendergast, Rev. 
J. Clohosey, Dr. Frank Walsh, Mrs. J. P. Healy and Mr. T. Hoyne, visited 
the following sites: — Kilkenny Castle and other sites in the City, Clara 
Castle, Gowran Church, Ullard church and high cross, St. Mullins (early 
monastic site), Inistioge Priory, Jerpoint Abbey, Danesfort (rath), Fresh- 
ford (Romanesque doorway), Fertagh round tower, Kilcooly Abbey, 



Tullaroan (rath), Kells Priory, Kilree (church, round tower and high 
cross), Leac an Scail (megalith), Ahenny (high crosses), Kilkieran (high 
crosses), Callan (church and motte), Burnchurch Castle. 

September 27, 1958. — To Dunshaughlin (lintel), Duleek (church and 
round tower), Fourknocks (passage grave). The party numbered 71 and 
was led by Miss H. M. Roe, Dr. H. G. Leask and Mr. P. J. Hartnett. 


During the year 1 member was advanced to fellowship and 2 fellows 
and 34 members were elected. 

Advanced to Fellowship: — Basil O’Connell, K.M. 

Fellows: — Dr. J. B. Kearney; Dr. Ian A. P. Smythe-Wood. 

Members: — John Corcoran, M.Ch.; Martin P. Carney; G. K. Miley; 
Miss C. L. S. Catt; John Cussen; Miss K. M. Dickie; Rev. W. T. 
McDowell; Prof. T. Jones Hughes; G. D. Liversage; The Deputy Keeper, 
Public Record Office, Belfast; Glenstal Abbey Archaeological Society; 
Joseph Burrows; An t-Onorach Garech de Brun; T. A. C. Carson; 
Eamonn de h-Oir; Walter Joyce; Rev. P. Lionard, C.S.Sp.; Austin C. 
Murray; Sean 6 Nuallain; The Director, Ordance Survey; J. R. Pope; 
Michael B. Wynne; Frank Gibney; Mrs. Sarah M. Neill; Miss N. M. 
Douglas; Dean Gunther White; Thomas Pierce; Hon. Desmond Guin- 
ness; Mrs. Desmond Guinness; Miss Kathleen Hughes; Seminar fur 
Deutsche Altertums u. Volkskunde im Museum fur Hamburgische 
Geschichte; Prof. T. S. 6 Maille; Mrs. Anna Nesham; Mrs. Elizabeth 

The deaths of 1 Honorary Fellow, 2 Fellows and 7 Members were 

Hon. Fellow: — Dr. Charles McNeill. 

Fellows: — Thomas H. Mason; John English. 

Members: — Patrick Broderick; William F. Figgis; Patrick Smyth; 
Stephen P. Gahagan; Sean 6 Cuill; Francis McCormick; A. G. Davis. 

The resignations of 2 fellows and 19 members were received. 

The names of the following have been removed from the Roll under 
Rule 10 — they may be restored to membership on payment of the amount 
due: — Leslie C. Brooks; Dr. Thomas A. Callaghan; Major W. S. Corken; 
Miss C. B. Crawford; Augustus Cullen; Miss Sarah Fagan; Thomas 
Hoyne; Brendan Hyland; Miss M. J. Loughnane; Michael T. O’Connor; 
Micheal 6 Failbhe; V. Rev. James Canon Sherwin. 

The losses to the Society by deaths and resignations amounted to 31. 
The number removed from the Roll under Rule 10 is 14 and the 
accessions were 36. 



The number of Fellows and Members now on the Roll is distributed 
as follows: — 

Honorary Fellows ... ... 5 

Life Fellows ... ... ... 30 

Fellows ... ... ... 69 

Life Members ... ... ... 42 

Members ... ... ... 478 

Total 624 


The total receipts from all sources during the year 1958, from sub- 
scriptions, rents, dividends, sale of publications, donations, excursions and 
miscellaneous receipts amounted to £2,284 Is. 7d. 

The total expenditure was £2,491 Is. 3d. as follows: — Printing 
Journal 1957 Pt. 2 and 1958 Pts. 1 & 2 £1,039 15s. 0d.; illustrating 
Journal 1958 Pts. 1 & 2 and 1959 Pt. 1 £103 11s. 9d.; roof reconstruction 
and general house repairs £489 5s. 0d.; excursions, fuel, light, salaries, 
rents, insurance, Bank interest and general expenses £858 9s. 6d. The 
Society holds investments of £155 (face value) Post Office Saving 
Certificates; £280 4\% New Land Bonds; £100 3^% 4th National Loan; 
£1,010 2s. Od. 5% Dublin Corporation Stock; £274 3s. 5d. deposit Post 
Office Savings Bank. 

The total amount of contributions to the Roof Repair Fund received 
to date is £503 7s. 8d. 


In addition to current periodicals the following publications have 
been received : — 

The Ancient and Present State of Youghal by Thomas Lord, pre- 
sented by Dr. F. S. Bourke. 

My Heart Remembers How by M. P. Linehan, presented by Dr. F. 
S. Bourke. 

Architecture in Britain: The Middle Ages by Geoffrey Webb, pre- 
sented by Dr. H. G. Leask. 

The High Crosses of Western Ossory by Helen M. Roe, presented 
by the author. 



For Review: — 

Josef Szoverffy: Irisches Erzahlgut im Abendland. 

Major H. F. McClintock: Handbook on the Traditional Old Irish 

Dr. H. G. Leask: Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings Vol. II. 
Stuart Piggott: Scotland before History. 

Maire and Liam de Paor: Early Christian Ireland. 

Monuments of the Isle of Man published by the Manx Museum. 
Analecta Hibernica Vol. 20. 

William O’Sullivan (Ed.): The Stafford Inquisition of Mayo. 

Liam Price: The Place-Names of Co. Wicklow, VI — The Barony of 

Helen M. Roe: The High Crosses of Western Ossory. 

Old Kilkenny Review No. 10 (1956). 

Thomas P. O’Neill : Sources of Irish Local History. 

T. G. E. Powell: The Celts. 

J. F. S. Stone: Wessex. 




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Acorns used as food ... ... 1 8 If . 

Aghowle, Co. Wicklow, ‘bullaun’ 166 
‘ Aileen Aroon Moore’s version 118 
Antiquities of the Early Christian 

period in the Dublin area 205-207 

Ballinakill parish, Co. Galway 49, 55 

Ballinlough, Co. Galway ... 55 

Ballinsperrig, Co. Cork 137, 152, 155 
Ballintombay, Co. Wicklow, 

‘ bullaun ’ ... ... 164, 184 

Ballon Hill, pottery from ... 3 Iff. 

Ballymagooly, Co. Cork ... 152 

Barley, removal of husks 172, 177, 182f. 
Basilia, sister of Walter de 

Ridelsford ... ... 42, 51 

Blacklion, St. Bridget’s stone 

166, 170, 184 

British monks in Ireland ... 180 

Bronze Age burials ... ... 24 

Bronze Age pottery from Ballon 

Hill in the British Museum ... 31-33 
‘ Bullaun ’-stones ... 161-188 

Bunting, Edward 109, 113, 209 

de Burgo, Richard ... ... 39. 51 

Butler, Deborah ... ... 70f. 

Carolan, the Irish Harper ... 208 

Carrickmines, Co. Dublin, socket 

stone ... ... ... 207 

Carrowcrin, Co. Galway ... 55 

Carthusian foundation at 

Kinaleghin ... ... 35-58 

Castleknock, feudal service of 8, 10. 13 
Charter of Kinaleghin ... 5 Iff. 

Churches and Monastic Buildings, 

Irish ... ... ... 98 

Clapham, Revd. George ... 60, 85 

Claregalway ... 39,42,55 

Clogherny, Co. Tyrone, Megalith 95 
Clonfert, John O Laidhin, bishop 

of ... ... ... 47 

de Cogan family ... 41-45, 56 

de Cogan, John son of Richard 39ff. 

Coillacht, feudal service of ... 10 

Colonsay Island, basin-stones 172f., 177 
L. Corrib ... ... ... 55 

Cotter family .. ... 137f. 

Cotter, Sir James ... 135-159 

Cotterborough, manor of ... 152 

Cox, Sir Richard ... ... 157f. 

Cremated Burial, Rath, Co. 

Wicklow ... * ... ... 26ff. 

Croker. Thomas Crofton ... 112 

Cross-base, Carrickmines ... 207 

Cross-base. Oldcourt, Bray ... 97 

Crowly, Miles ... 140-145 

Cursing stones 

166, 170, 173 

Decipherment of the Mycenaean 
Script, The ... 189-204 

L. Derg ... ... ... 55 

Dooros, Co. Galway ... ... 55 

Doughnambraher, Co. Clare, 

‘ bullaun ’ ... ... ... 167 

Dublin, feudal service at 


Dundalk, feudal service of 


Edmundson, William ... 

...59, 85 

‘ Faugh a ballagh ’, tune used by 


... 125 

Feudal tenure in Ireland 

... 1-15 

Finial from Saggart, Co. Dublin 205 



Food vessels 

. . . 32f. 

Foula, Shetland, knocking stone 171 

Franciscan Friary, Kilnalahan 
Friends’ Provincial School, 


Mountmellick, The ... 

... 59-89 

Glassamucky Mountain. Co. 

Dublin, ‘bullaun’ 

165, 169 

Glendalough, ‘ bullauns ’ 


Holden, Smollet 

111, 113 

Housesteads, stone basin 


Island, Co. Cork, gallery grave 


James Cotter, a Seventeenth- 

century Agent of the Crown 135-159 

Kilcummin, Co. Mayo, cursing 
stone ... ... ... 173 

Killinagh, Co. Cavan, ‘ bullaun ’ 

166, 170. 184 

Kill of the Grange, Co. Dublin, 

cross-inscribed stone ... 207 

Kilmalkedar, Co. Kerry, ‘bullaun’ 167f. 
Kinaleghin: A Forgotten Irish 
Charterhouse of the 13th cen- 
tury ... ... ... 35-58 

‘King’s Collectanea’ ... ... 45 

Knight Service in Ireland ... 1-15 

Knight’s fee, size of ... ... 9f. 

Knossos ... ... 191, 193f. 197 

Latimer, Richard le 
Limerick, Treaty of 
Linear B tablets 
Lisdurra, Co. Galway 
Lisle, Col. John 
Ludlow, Gen. Edward 




138-144. 150 

Macdonnell, Thomas ... 139, 147 

Manx monuments ... ... 210f. 

Megalith, Clogherny, Co. Tyrone 95 
Minoan culture ... ... 1 9 1 f . 

Monea. Co. Waterford, ‘bullaun’ 174 
Moore’s Melodies, Sources of 109-133 
Mortars, use of ... 176-183 

Mountmellick, Quaker School ... 59-89 
Moysceth ... ... ... 43, 55 

Music, Irish ... 109-133, 208 

Mycenaean Script, Decipherment 
of ... ... 189-204 

Neolithic pottery ... ... 19ff. 

O Bruadair. Daivf ... ... 135 

Oldcourt. Bray, cross-base ... 97 

O’Neill, Arthur, Memoirs of ... 209 
Ossory, High Crosses ... ... 103 

I ND EX — continued 

Parliament na mBan ... 

136, 138 

Petrie, George 

... 110 

Pottery, Bronze Age 

... 31ff. 

Pottery, Neolithic 

... 19ff. 

Power, James 

... HOf. 

Power, William 

110, 112 

Prehistoric Burial at Rath, 



... 17-29 



Quaker School, Mountmellick 

... 59-89 

Querns, rotary 

... 183f. 

Rath, Co. Wicklow, Prehistoric 


... 17-29 

Rathealy Fort, Co. Kilkenny 


Rathmichael, Co. Dublin, cross 


... 204 

Rierdan, John 

1 4 1 f . 146 

Rock-basins or ‘ Bullauns ’, 
Glendalough and elsewhere 



Rockforest, Co. Cork ... 

... 152 

Royal service of Ireland 

5, 11-13 

Saggart, Co. Dublin, finial ... 205 

St. Berach ... ... ... 186 

St. Bridget’s stone, Killinagh 

166, 170, 184 

St. Kevin’s Road ... 161, 184 

St. Mochulleus ... ... 168 

School. Quaker, at Mountmellick 59-89 

regulations ... 66ff ., 77ff. 

Scutage ... ... ... 4f. 

Segontium, column capital used as 
mortar ... ... 179, 188 

Serjeaunty, tenure by ... ... 2 

Sources of Moore’s 

Sprat or White-fish 
Waterford Harbour 
Stapleton, Sir William 


Weirs in 

... 91-93 
148, 150 

Tomany, Co. Galway 


Ulster, feudal service 

of ... 5, 11 

Ventris, Michael 


Weirs, Sprat or White-fish, in 

Waterford Harbour ... 91-93 

List of Societies, etc., from whom publications are received 

Aarb’oger Nordisk Oldkyndighed og 
Historic, Denmark. 

Aarhus: Jysk Arkaeologisk Selskab. 
Academie de Dijon. 

Academie de la Republique Populaire 

Acaddmie Royale d’ArcheoIogie de 

Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. 
American Antiquarian Society. 
Archaeologica Belgica. 

Archaeological Institute, Slovak Academy 
of Science, Nitra. 

Barcelona: Cuadernos de Arquitectura. 
Barcelona : Museo Arqueologico. 

Bergen : Universitetsbiblioteket. 

Berlin: Deutsche Akademie der Wissen- 

Bern: Stadt und Hochschulbibliothek. 
Bihar and Orissa Research Society, India. 
Bollandistes, Societe des. 

Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological 

British School at Rome. 

Bruxelles : Societd Royale d’Archdologie. 
Buenos Aires: Facultad de Filosofia y 

Cambrian Archaeological Association. 
Cambridge Antiquarian Society. 

Chester and North Wales Archaeological 
and Historical Society. 

Cork Historical and Archaeological 

Cymmrodorion, Honourable Society of. 
Deutsches Archaeologisches Institut. 
Dorset Natural History and 
Archaeological Society. 

Essex Archaeological Society. 

Finska Fornminnesfoereningen. 

Folklore of Ireland Society. 

Friends Historical Society. 

Galway Archaeological Society. 

Geneve: Musee d’Art et d’Histoire. 
Gent: Seminarie voor Archaeologie. 
Glasgow Archaeological Society. 
Hamburg: Archaeologia Geographica. 
Henry Bradshaw Society. 

Institut Arcbeologique Liegeois. 

Institut National d’Archdologie, Prague. 
Instituto di Studi Liguri, Bordighera. 
Irish Book Lover. 

Irish Historical Studies. 

Isle of Man Natural History 
and Antiquarian Society. 

Kent Archaeological Society. 

Kildare Archaeological Society. 
Ljubljana: Slovenska Akademija 
Znanosti in Umetnosti. 

Louth Archaeological Society. 

Madrid: Comisaria General 

de Excavaciones Arqueol6gicas. 
Montgomeryshire Collections. 

Musee Archeologique de Poznan. 

Museo de Pontevedra, Spain. 

National Museum of Canada. 
Netherlands, State Service 

for Archaeological Investigations. 
Norsk Folkemuseum. 

Numismatic Society, London. 

Oslo: Universitetets Oldsaksamling. 
Paris: Academie des Inscriptions 
et Belles Lettres. 

Paris : Societe d’Anthropologie. 
Pennsylvania Historical Society. 
Prehistoric Society. 

Rhineland, Verein von Altertums- 

Royal Anthropological Institute. 

Royal Archaeological Institute 
of Great Britain and Ireland. 

Royal Historical Society. 

Royal Irish Academy. 

Schweizerisches Landesmuseum. 
Shropshire Archaeological Society. 
Smithsonian Institution. 

Sociedade Martins Sarmento, Guimaraes, 

Societas Scientiarum Lodziensis. 

Societas Scientiarum Varsaviensis. 

Societe Nationale des Antiquaires 
de France. 

Society Prehistorique Fran?aise. 

Society Prehistorique Polonaise. 

Societe Royale des Lettres de Lund. 
Society of Antiquaries of London. 
Society of Antiquaries 

of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 
Somersetshire Archaeological Society. 
South African Archaeological Society. 
Stockholm : Kungl. Vitterhets Historic 
och Antikvitets Akademien. 
Stockholm: Royal Library. 

Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. 

Surrey Archaeological Society. 

Sussex Archaeological Society. 

Tarragona: Real Sociedad Arqueoldgica. 
Thoresby Society. 

Trondhjem: Det Kongelige Norske 

Videnskabers Selskab. 

Ulster lournal of Archaeology. 

Uppsala: Kungl. Universitetets Bibliotek. 
Viking Society. 

Warszawa : Panstwowe Muzeum 

Wiltshire Archaeological Society. 
Yorkshire Archaeological Society. 

Alex Thom & Co., Ltd., Dublin ±